A bullfighter's job is very unique in that he has to react to a situation in a proper way, so that to lessen the chance of a dangerous situation. We get very few tools, but what we do have is our minds. We typically work as a 2 or 3 man team to cover all 360 degrees around the animal, and rely on nothing but reaction and our own decisions to make sure everything goes as planned.
Sometimes, you will see bullfighters give each other and other personnel in the arena hand signals dictating a prediction or assumption of the situation to follow. There is typically debate on whether or not these hand signals are needed or even wanted. There are some that swear by them and use them constantly, whether are typically correct or not. Then, there are others who pay no mind to them and take the situation as it comes.
However, I myself have witnessed first hand other arena personnel being very gratious for knowing these hand signals (judges, gate personnel, barrelman, etc.).
Some examples and their meanings are shown below. We are not saying use them is right, wrong, or indifferent, we intend to inform. Even if you're only a spectator, watch out for these next time you find yourself in front of a set of bucking chutes; what ensues when the fist comes out might be exciting.
Comment below on YOUR thoughts on hand signals!
To the Victor Goes the Spoils
Darwyn Thompson, of Eagle Butte, SD fought bulls well this Memorial Day Weekend and because of his efforts, was awarded 1st place prize money along with a custom painted skull by JB's Wildlife Designs (below).
Partnered with Darwyn was the 2x INFR Bullfighter Marshall Byrne of Dupree, SD. Marshall took home 2nd place.
Coming in third was the 2016 PBR Rookie of the Year, Jess Lockwood of Volborg, MT. Jess, although not typically a bullfighter, decided to wear a different hat inside the arena in hopes of winning the beautiful skull. Sadly, his efforts weren't quite enough to impress our judges.
Our next competition begins today, under a slightly new format. June 1-15 we will be leaving our entries open, along with our video submissions throughout the entirety of the competition. See our Events page for more information.