Bullfighters the unsung heroes of the rodeo sports iowastatedaily.com red dresses for women

The bullfighters’ purpose in the rodeo is to protect dismounted cowboys from being trampled or hooked by the bull while providing the crowd extra entertainment.

Moore has been a bullfighter for 11 years. He began rodeo activities as a child by being a barrel man for mutton bustin’, an event similar to bull riding in which children ride sheep. Chambers began bullfighting four years ago and prior to that rode bulls in high school and college.

Moore and chambers described the learning curve at school as steep, as both described being banged up and hooked by horns numerous times from calves and bulls.

In bullfighting, the gap is the space between the rider and the bull. It is the fighter’s job to get in that space so the cowboy can move to safety.Being hooked

Once the fighter is in the gap, he grabs the bull by the head and pulls it away from the cowboy.


The bull becomes agitated at the bullfighter, who draws the animal away.

“there’s instances where that gap that you are shooting is a lot smaller than you want it to be and you just got to know the mentality that you’re going to get hooked just to keep that rider safe,” chambers said.

Some of the most dangerous scenarios involve the rider falling directly under the bull’s head. That requires the bullfighters to pull that animal off as fast as possible because the rider is guaranteed to get hooked by the bull.

Schroeder was involved in a dangerous accident at a rodeo in river falls, wisconsin.Being hooked during a ride, the bull came out of the chute and kicked when schroeder thought the animal would rear.

When his head came forward, it slammed into the bull’s skull right between it’s horns, concussing him and causing him to see a “bright gold film” on everything he looked at.

Both chambers and moore said during times such as those, there is no other option than to take a hit from the bull to assure the rider is safe.

The bullfighters aren’t completely vulnerable to the bull’s horns, as they wear protective padding. The gear includes a vest that covers the fighters abdomen and back, which includes pads on the side protecting the ribs from being gored.

A fighter’s legs only have pads on the side of their leg from their hip to above their knee.Being hooked that makes it imperative that a fighter turns to the side and “show pad” to the bull when being hooked to avoid serious injuries.

Chambers said usually the pad protects him enough from the bulls horns that being hooked usually doesn’t hurt, but there are instances when it can cause a sizable amount of pain.

What gets the fighters from rodeo to rodeo is the idea that they have to protect the cowboys no matter what because the cowboys will always ride no matter the injury they experience.

“they know they wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for us [if] we are all beat up and not there and we wouldn’t be getting on if it wasn’t for them,” schroeder said.

After the first season, chambers said he felt the speed of bullfighting was beginning to slow down and he was able to begin working the bull, or making the animal do what he wanted it to do.Chambers said

Moore said he saw that the more rodeos he worked, the more his timing and positioning improved, along with his ability to read bulls and understand what they would do.

Moore, though, lost quite a bit of those skills he acquired when he began his deployment as a captain in the army, where he served for five years after completing ROTC at iowa state.

When moore was in the army, he was only able to bullfight at one to two rodeos a year. But once his duty was up, moore transitioned to full-time bullfighting quickly.

For chambers, the beatings are nothing compared to the satisfaction of keeping your friends safe to pair with the glory of fighting and adrenaline rush.

“the feeling of you getting hooked and that rider [stands] up to walk behind the chutes and he’ll be able to put his rope on another [bull] tomorrow," chamber said. "It makes all that pain go away.”