Gets the heart pounding; the rodeo fans are on the edge of their seats; the bulls are restless and snorting and fighting in the chute.
The rodeo announcer pumps up the crowd with loud up-beat funky music and the jitters begin!
A bull rider has already checked who the ‘bull fighter’ is going to be, if he is fast, nimble athletic and strong, the rider can concentrate on riding the bull.
A good bull fighter who has worked rodeos fighting bulls, saving riders who get hung up, or are a bit disorientated and cannot get out of the way, will fearlessly jump in between the bull and the bull rider, slap the bull on the nose and whip around taking the bull away, leaving the rider safe.
A good bullfighter will get voted in by the bull riders to be the fighter at the BCRA finals.
Such a fighter for 2011 year was Gregory Loring Junior.
Tall, athletic, quick thinker and fast on his feet, Junior showed the cowboys how he could deal with the bulls as the riders were bucked off or got hung up.
Junior is a very well liked fellow, as a bullfighter, his speed on his feet, his ability to be a quick thinker in tough situations, being able to grab a rider off the bull and drop them on the ground then draw the bull away has earned him a lot of respect.
Formally from Riske Creek; young Greg Loring Junior, known as ‘Junior’ hung up his bull-rope to become a bullfighter saving cowboys.
“I decided to start fighting bulls after last summer (2010) when I was injured riding bulls. It took a long time to really accept the fact that was the better rodeo route for me to take, as it turns out I fight bulls better then I ever rode bulls and after the summer I had fighting bulls; the pain of not riding bulls is a lot more tolerable,” states Junior.
He goes on to explain: “Bullfighting has always come pretty natural to me. Even when I rode bulls I would fight for my buddies in the practice pen. It was just never really a challenge to me. I guess that is one of the reasons why I never pursued it until this past year.”
“The key to fighting bulls is”… explains Junior; “well I’m sure there are numerous opinions of right and wrong ways to do it. What works for me is being able to read the bulls leads and positioning myself so that I’m not moving too fast or too slow.
Of course, there are them times too when things don’t go as planned or as smooth as a guy wants them too and when them times occur you just do whatever it takes to keep the bull riders safe.
“Whether it be throwing yourself in front of a bull and taking a hit or just plain out take a hooking. I found too that being a bullfighter, its always good to try and fight different pens of bulls, just to keep from getting lazy and keeping your reaction sharp.
“If a guy fights the same pen of bulls all summer you kinda get to know the bulls and their attitudes and you kinda already know what to expect before they have even left the chute and therefore it could get you in a jam somewhere down the road with a different pen of bulls with different attitudes.
“I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from a lot of different people this past year and to me that’s what makes it worth while to be a bullfighter. It makes a guy feel pretty good when you have not only bull riders and stock contractors and of course the ladies but people that are in the stands and probably don’t have the first clue about rodeo but yet they still notice the job you are doing and come and shake your hand when they see you after the rodeo.
“Its a pretty warm and comforting feeling when a guy knows he did a job well done. I had the opportunity to not only fight bulls in B.C. but also Alberta where I was able to become a WPB (world professional bull riding) bullfighter.
“That was a pretty big achievement for me mainly because of the exposure I got! I had the chance to fight bulls in front of some of the best bull riders in Canada and got nothing but positive feedback. Hopefully the future has a lot more to offer for me. I’d like to have my full CPRA bullfighting card within the next few years and maybe one day have a chance to fight bulls at the CFR and fight bulls on the PBR Built Ford Tough series. That will all come in time and I’m just gonna take it one step at a time and let things fall into place!”
Junior’s friend Ty Pozzobon explains: “Junior has been fighting bulls for about three or four years and has just started doing it seriously.
“Junior is one of the best in B.C., if I enter a bull riding event and I find out that Junior is the bull fighter; then the last thing I have to worry about is if I’ll be safe. If you know its Junior doing the bullfighting; you know you’ll be looked after; that is for sure!”
“He’s getting better and better, before you know it Junior will be fighting in the Professional Bull Riding, he’s come a long ways since he has started!
“Whenever I practice bull riding; he’ll be first one there and make sure I make it.” states Ty Pozzobon, who has been riding bulls for five years and is in the PBR; Ty and Junior are best friends.
A phone call to Wade Marchand brought the following comments about Junior’s skills as a bullfighter:
“A guy to come around like that! Junior, I trust the most to have around to fight bulls when I’m riding! There’s not a lot of bullfighters in B.C. I ride in B.C. and Alberta. About Junior; if he is the bullfighter then I am worry free! Junior is always there; and he will take a hit for a guy no matter who the rider is or which bull; and he loves to bull fight and will put all his effort into saving a guy from getting hurt! “Junior is one of the few bullfighters who a rider can always count on.”
Wade Marchand has been riding bulls 10 or 11 years, and has been riding professional about six years.
“Junior is just there!”