Eaton’s Roper Rich claims second championship at Greeley Stampede’s American Bull Fighting competition

There was a whole different kind of rodeo event that took place on the floor of the Greeley Stampede Arena on Saturday as American Bull Fighting and mounted shooting events took place.

American Bull Fighting is growing in popularity throughout arenas across the U.S. The competition pits a lone bullfighter against a Mexican fighting bull to see who has the better moves.

Mexican Fighting Bulls are a bit smaller than the bucking bulls used in rodeo bull riding. Their smaller stature allows them to be more nimble and possess more stamina. Mexican Fighting Bulls are also extremely smart and can pick up on a bullfighter’s moves fairly quickly.

The goal of the bullfighters is to stay as close to the bull as possible (without getting trampled). Scores for the bullfighters are based on control, style, speed and tricks. The more tricks you pull off, the better the score.

While the bullfighters’ goal is to not get mowed over, it’s the bulls’ job to be as aggressive, angry and ornery as possible and not let the bullfighter best the animal in their moves. The more aggressive, engaging and fast the bull, the more points.Unlike Spanish bullfighting, the event does not incorporate swords or harming or killing of the animals.

GREELEY, CO - JULY 02:Bullfighter Andrew Garey, of Kersey, stays ahead of the bull in the fifth heat during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)
GREELEY, CO – JULY 02:Bullfighter Andrew Garey, of Kersey, stays ahead of the bull in the fifth heat during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Both bullfighters and bulls have 40-seconds in the ring with an optional 20-seconds should the bullfighter choose to prolong the insanity. As in bull riding, 50% of the score is based on the bullfighter’s performance and the other 50% is based on the bull’s performance.

This year’s event was set up into five qualifying rounds with two bullfighters competing in each round. The bullfighter with the top score moved on to the finals.

This year the following bullfighters came out to show off their technical abilities in the Greeley Stampede’s American Bull Fighting event:

  • Jacob Rutherford
  • Westlee Jones
  • Kye Hicks
  • Kody Davis
  • Dylan Idleman
  • Malaqi Cook
  • Clayton Kneebone
  • Roper Rich
  • Chris Munroe
  • Andrew Garey

Rutherford got the competition started in the first round with a 81.5 score followed by Utah bullfighter Westlee Jones with a score of 83.

GREELEY, CO - JULY 02:The bull tries to go after the photographer through the fence during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)
GREELEY, CO – JULY 02:The bull tries to go after the photographer through the fence during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

While Kye Hicks had good contact with his bull the Wyoming man had to take a few climbs up the fence to get out of the way of the charging beast.

Things went terribly awry for bullfighter Kody Davis, who was in the second round along with Hicks. Davis was having a great performance up until he went down and the bull began to roll him with his head and step on the bullfighter.

Fellow bullfighters barreled into the ring to distract the bull so that Davis could get to safety. Unfortunately, while the bull achieved its objective, Davis left the competition with a score of zero.

“American Bull Fighting is like watching a car wreck — cringe worthy but fascinating,” the announcer quipped.

GREELEY, CO - JULY 02:Bullfighter Kye Hicks leaps over the fence to escape the bull while competing in the second heat during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)
GREELEY, CO – JULY 02:Bullfighter Kye Hicks leaps over the fence to escape the bull while competing in the second heat during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

In the third round, bullfighters Dylan Idleman, from Oklahoma, and Texas boy Malaqi Cook took their run around the ring with a bull. Idleman’s bull got a bit too close to the bullfighter and was able to flip the man while Cook also got taken down.

Remarkably, both bullfighters opted to take the extra 20 seconds in the ring with the combative animals. Idleman scored a 74 while Cook earned a score of 82.

Next up was Colorado natives Clayton Kneebone and Rich Roper. Kneebone fell and recovered, but only ended up with a score of 63. Kneebone’s bull was so displeased with the score, he decided to try and topple the fencing around the rear of the arena, causing Wranglers to have to come out and reset the posts and secure the fence.

The 2021 Greeley Stampede champion and two-time American Bull Fighting champion, Rich, from Eaton, entered the ring in his usual white cowboy shirt with black fringe. Rich’s bull busted out of the chute ready to obliterate anything in its path, but Rich proved why he was a champion bullfighter. The Eaton man maintained close proximity with the animal and stayed in control of his performance throughout the entire 60-seconds.

Rich’s performance was the highest in the qualifying event at 86.5.

GREELEY, CO - JULY 02:Bullfighter Kody Davis gets hooked by the bull while competing in the second heat during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)
GREELEY, CO – JULY 02:Bullfighter Kody Davis gets hooked by the bull while competing in the second heat during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

The last round featured Texas bullfighter Chris Munroe and Andrew Garey from Kersey.

Monroe laid down a solid performance despite having to fling himself over the fence to escape the constant barrage of horns from his bull. Monroe’s performance earned him a score of 76.

Twisting the ends of his handlebar mustache Garey waited to see what would come charging out of the chute. The duo’s performance earned them an 82 from the judges.

In between the qualifying round and the finals, the event hosted King of Beers competition, which allowed volunteers to show off their novice bullfighting, moves.

Three teams of two men had to work together fill up a pitcher with water from buckets located around the ring using only a glass. One man was fitted with a Kevlar vest and his job was to fill the pitcher while the second man, donning a plastic blow up bubble, worked to keep a bull distracted for his team member.

GREELEY, CO - JULY 02:The bull slams a contestant in the King of Beers competition before the championship round of the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)
GREELEY, CO – JULY 02:The bull slams a contestant in the King of Beers competition before the championship round of the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Things did not start off well as the bull immediately burst one man’s bubble and began to roll and knock him around the ring. The other two teams took advantage of their competitor’s situation and ran frantically between the pitcher and water bucket, trying to fill the pitcher as quickly as possible.

With so much chaos, bubbles popping, pitchers flying and men running combined with one angry bull, it was questionable if anyone really won the competition.

Upon cleaning up pitchers and popped bubbles and resetting some of the fencing, the top scoring bullfighters were ready to compete in the finals.

GREELEY, CO - JULY 02:The bull wreaks havoc in the King of Beers competition before the championship round of the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)
GREELEY, CO – JULY 02:The bull wreaks havoc in the King of Beers competition before the championship round of the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

The final round of the competition featured Jones, Hicks, Cook, Rich and Garey.

Rich was given a new bull after his first bull wasn’t really in the mood to play tag and refused to engage with the bullfighter, or rather anyone.

The re-assignment proved to be positive for Rich as the current champion jumped over the bull, maintained close contact, kept the bull engaged and provided the crowded grandstands with the show they were expecting. Rich’s stellar performance earned him a score of 87.5 as well as a second championship title at the Greeley Stampede.

GREELEY, CO - JULY 02:Bullfighter Roper Rich leaps the bull in the finals round during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)
GREELEY, CO – JULY 02:Bullfighter Roper Rich leaps the bull in the finals round during the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

“You know, if it was any better I’d be on the beach in the Dominican Republic. I’ll tell you what, it’s the best feeling in the world to win your hometown rodeo,” Rich exclaimed. “I’ll be back next year.”

In addition to a different format, the American Bull Fighting event also featured a mounted shooting competition from the Colorado Regulators. Mounted shooting, the fastest growing equine sport in the world, is a team sport of a shooter and their horse running a course set with 10 balloons. The shooter uses two Long Colt .45 single action revolvers loaded with blanks to pop the balloons. The participant is score on time and number of balloons popped.

Penalties can be added to a shooter’s time for each missed balloon, knocked over barrel or not following the course of fire.

Mounted shooting has different levels that represent a shooter’s skill with 1 being the beginning and 6 being a Master Mounted Shooter and all ages are welcome to participate in mounted shooting events.

GREELEY, CO - JULY 02:Rick Carlson shoots a balloon on his way to a time of 13.1 seconds in the qualifying round of the Colorado Regulators mounted shooting competition between rounds of the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)
GREELEY, CO – JULY 02:Rick Carlson shoots a balloon on his way to a time of 13.1 seconds in the qualifying round of the Colorado Regulators mounted shooting competition between rounds of the American Bull Fighting competition at the 100th Greeley Stampede at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley July 2, 2022. Bullfighter Roper Rich, of Eaton, successfully defended his title as champion of ABF at the Greeley Stampede with a score of 87.50 in the final round. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

De Chapman ran her course flawlessly and fast to earn a time of 9.4 seconds and the title of winner for the event. Rick Carlson came in second with a time of 9.6 seconds and Delos Searle was third with a time of 9.9 seconds.

For more information on the Colorado Regulators, upcoming events and how to get started in mounted shooting, go to www.coloradoregulators.com.

If you haven’t made it out to the 100th Greeley Stampede, you have just two more days to check out the daily events which feature a carnival, live music, vendor booths, fair food, a western art exhibit and more.

For more information on the schedule of events, tickets, parking and general park rules and regulations, go to www.greeleystampede.org.

https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/07/02/eatons-roper-rich-claims-second-championship-at-greeley-stampedes-american-bull-fighting-competition/ Eaton’s Roper Rich claims second championship at Greeley Stampede’s American Bull Fighting competition

James Brien

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