Nebraska man to step in as second bullfighter at hometown rodeo
North Platte, Neb. – May 2018 – The Buffalo Bill Rodeo will have a new face in the arena this year.
Zach Call, Thedford, Nebraska, will work as a bullfighter at the rodeo.
It’s the 25 year old’s first time to work the North Platte event.
The Mullen-born and raised cowboy will work the rodeo alongside a family friend. Quirt Hunt, from Gordon, was working high school rodeos as a bullfighter when Call’s older brothers were riding bulls. Call “grew up watching Quirt when I was really young,” he said. The two worked a Professional Bull Riders event in Kearney last winter.
Call started his rodeo career as a bull rider, competing in the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association and qualifying for the high school state finals twice. He competed collegiately at Dodge City (Kan.) Community College for two years, then continued at Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Okla.
His sophomore year of college, he was fighting injuries and things weren’t going smoothly with bull riding. So he tried the bullfighting, and found it to be to his liking. “I enjoyed it a lot more,” he said and slowly, the bullfighting: protecting the bull riders after their ride, overtook the bull riding.
He went to a bullfighting school put on by world champion bullfighters Rob Smets and Miles Hare. Hare, who grew up in Gordon, took a liking to the young Nebraskan and gave him pointers and tips.
It was at the school that he began freestyle bullfighting. In freestyle, there is no bull rider to protect: it’s a competition among bullfighters with points awarded for how well they maneuver around the bull, how close the fighter gets to the bull, and how well they stay in control.
Call shows a particular affinity to it and has competed in the Bullfighters Only (BFO) events for two and a half years. He finished the 2016 year in sixth place in the BFO world standings, and the next year in ninth place.
In North Platte, Call will be doing cowboy protection bullfighting only. He likes a mix of both types: “you get to change it up every once in a while.”
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