Flipping onto the Scene

Cade Gibson earned his first big win in the bullfighting world at the American Freestyle Bullfighting in Deadwood, S.D. (Photo Courtesy Avid Visual Imagery Rodeo Photography)

By Phillip Kitts

The history of bullfighting has many speculations and goes back much further than what many people realize. One of the main theories is that the sport traces its roots back to 711 A.D. in Spain where it was celebrated in conjunction with King Alfonso and his coronation.

Many years later, the modern matador and the sport of bullfighting has become a story of legends, bravery and tradition.The evolution of American Freestyle Bullfighting comes in direct connection with what many call the “rodeo clown.”

Years ago, this connection was somewhat valid in that the talented young men who served the purpose to protect bull riders from their 1500 to 1800-pound competitors would also tell jokes and act out skits to provide rodeo fans with entertainment.

As the sport of rodeo evolved, it became very apparent that there needed to be a separation between a rodeo clown and a bullfighter. This separation provided the sport of rodeo something new: Rodeo clowns, aka funny men, aka barrel men, began to focus on entertainment and honing their skills and maneuvering the infamous barrel around the arena while the bull fighter focused purely on assisting bull riders away from the bull once they were no longer on its back.

To read more pick up a copy of the February 2019 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.