While most of us haven’t ever had the urge to play Ring Around the Rosie with a bull, contestants in the American Bull Fighting event at the Greeley Stampede did that and more.
The event kicked off at 1 p.m. Saturday with 12 contestants vying for the championship bragging rights as well as receiving a buckle and some cash.
This year’s bull fighters included:
Malaqi Cook, Mineral Wells, Texas
Dylan Idelman, Madill, Okla.
Dallas Deleon, Williston, N.D.
Brenall Dunn, Petrolia, Texas
Andrew Garey, Kersey, Colo.
Riley McKettrick, Fla.
Cole Denning, Hurley, Iowa
Westlee Jones, Payson, Utah
Roper Rich, Eaton, Colo.
Jacob Rutherford, Penrose, Colo.
Reece Schweigert, Baker, Mont.
Colton Orcutt, Galeton, Colo.
A bull fighter turns on the speed to avoid the bull during the American Bull Fighting event at the Greeley Stampede on Saturday in Greeley.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)
Contestants were split up into four groups with bull fighters going against a rodeo bull to pull off different stunts like jumping over the bull and seeing how close they can get to the animal without getting trampled. Contestants must keep their bull engaged for a full 40 seconds with an optional additional 20-seconds to continue their performance.
Bull fighters earn points for their performances and the contestant with the highest score out of each group moved on to the finals.
Cook was first in the ring and immediately took a hard hit from the bull, resulting in a no-score for the bull fighter.
Idelmman was up next and while the bull fighter was flipped and then pinned against the railing, he earned a score of 73 points which advanced him to the finals. The last man in the first group to step into the ring was Deleon, who earned a score of 72 points.
Colt Orcutt from Galeton finds himself in a bad position as the bull prepares to flip him during the American Bull Fighting event at Island Grove Arena in Greeley on Saturday.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)
The second group of contestants was comprised of Dunn, Garey and McKettrick. Dunn and Garey tied each other with scores of 72 points while McKettrick advanced to the finals with his score of 80 points.
For the third round, Denning earned a score of 81 points while Jones threw down a high score of 84 points.
Eaton’s darling, Rich, couldn’t get his bull to engage and was given a shot at a second fight. With his bobbing and weaving, Rich sealed the deal on his second fight when he jumped over the bull, earning him a score of 92 points and a place in the finals.
Rounding out the qualifying rounds were Orcutt, Rutherford and Schweigert.
Bull fighter Reece Schwiegert is dragged out of the ring after being knocked out during the American Bull Fighting competition at Island Grove Arena on Saturday in Greeley. Schwiegert was taken to the hospital for his injuries.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)
Orcutt got injured by the bull and couldn’t finish his match, leaving him with a no-score. Rutherford was able to earn a high-score of 87-points for his performance.
Organizers and the audience got a scare when Scheweigert was knocked unconscious when the bull he was competing against rammed into him.
As the man lay face down in the dirt, fellow bull fighters, Stampede Wranglers, the pickup man and others rushed into the ring to distract the animal from doing anymore damage to the bull fighter.
Schweigert was pulled out of the ring to safety by one of the contestants and attended to by Banner medical staff. The bull fighter was carried out of the arena on a stretcher and his condition remains unknown. Despite being carried out of the arena, the bull fighter received an 81-point score.
Bull fighter Jacob Rutherford gets flipped out of the ring by the bull during the American Bull Fighting event at the Greeley Stampede on Saturday.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)
Going into the finals, Idelman, McKettrick, Rutherford and Rich gave it their all in the ring, taking knocks from their bulls only to get back up and continue their performance.
While all the finalists did well in the ring, it was Rich that took home the championship for the third time in a row with a stunning 94-point performance against The Rock.
“I travel all around the world, but wins don’t mean as much to me as they do when I am here,” the young Eaton man said after his win.
Bull fighter Reece Schwiegert takes a bull horn to the chest while competing in the American Bull Fighting event at the Greeley Stampede on Saturday. Schwiegert was knocked out.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)
For a second year in a row, the event also featured the Colorado Regulators Mounted Shooters.
Cowboy mounted shooting is a rapidly growing sport across the United States and showcases contestants of all ages competing in a fast-action timed event.
Participants in mounted shooting are given two .45 caliber single-action revolvers loaded with five blanks to use to pop balloons perched on posts throughout a particular route.
Riding their horse as fast as they can, the mounted shooters must complete the specific pattern while cocking their revolver each time before firing at the balloon.
Josh Fetzer hits the balloon during the mounted shooting event at the Greeley Stampede on Saturday in Greeley.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)
The sport features 50 different patterns, which are chosen by a random draw for the competition.
This year, Diane Male took home the championship buckle and $1,245 dollars for her time of 11.55 seconds.
If you missed Saturday’s mounted shooting exhibition, the group is scheduled to return to Greeley for the Weld County Fair at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 22 in the Greeley Stampede Arena. The competition is free to watch and all ages are welcome to attend.
Dallas DeLeon is rolled around by the bull during the American Bull Fighting event on Saturday at Island Grove Arena in Greeley.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)
To learn more about the Colorado Regulators Mounted Shooting, go to https://bit.ly/3XxqlYu .
The Greeley Stampede is scheduled to run daily through July 4 with PRCA ProRodeo events, the SuperStars Concert Series, Carnival Americana and more for all ages.
For more information on the 2023 Greeley Stampede, including a schedule of events or to purchase tickets, go to www.greeleystampede.org .
This article was originally published in Greeley Tribune