It’s all about ‘saving cowboys’
Tyler Williams is crazy. Or that’s what people tell him, anyway.”People think I’m stupid, but it’s fun to me,” said Williams, a part-time rodeo clown – or “bullfighter,” as he calls it – who’s working this weekend’s Grand Valley Days rodeos.His job is simple – to protect the bullriders by distracting the bull.”Saving cowboys is what I like to do,” he said. “People who jump off cliffs or go skydiving, they get that rush. This is the same thing.”Williams, 20, has arguably the most dangerous job in rodeo, and he doesn’t even have health insurance. He’s only been bullfighting,” as he calls it, for two years now, and already has a laundry list of small-time injuries, from broken ribs to broken toes. He’s fully aware of just how perilous his profession can be.”I’ve seen some pretty wicked stuff. I’ve watched faces bust open, watched arms break,” he said.On one memorable occasion, last New Year’s Eve, when Williams was bullfighting in Utah, he was knocked unconscious as he tried to free a rider who’d become tangled in his bullrope and couldn’t get free of the bull. When Williams jumped up to help, the bull whipped its head back and its horn connected with Williams’ head.”He hit me so hard it lifted me off the ground,” said Williams with a laugh.
Williams said he was only out for a few minutes, and sat out for only two bulls before he was back in the arena.”That kind of made everybody look at me like, hey, this kid’s tough,” he said.In Williams’ business, that equates to good business. Since he’s relatively new to the job, he’s still only working part-time at various rodeos whenever he can.”I’m trying to make it a full-time career. That’s what I want to do,” Williams said. “I’m still trying to get my name out, but there’s a few people that know me.”But he’s already developed something of a rep amongst Colorado cowboys.”All the bullriders tell me I’m a badass. That makes me feel good,” Williams said. “There’s some (bullriders) that’ll ask, are you fighting tonight? And if I say no, they’ll be like, great, I’m gonna get hooked or something.”Williams picked up bullfighting in Utah after he figured out that he wasn’t much good at bullriding, which is what he originally wanted to do. One evening a handful of riders were short a bullfighter, and Williams volunteered to get in the ring. He’s been hooked ever since.But at least part of the responsibility for Williams’ career choice can be laid at the doorstep of his father, who was himself a bullrider and then a rodeo clown.”I guess I’m a second-generation bullfighter,” Williams acknowledged.
Contact John Schroyer: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
Today• 7 p.m. – Rodeo, Grand Valley Park Association Arena ($20/car, this rodeo only)Saturday• 7-9 a.m. – VFW Pancake Breakfast, Senior Center• 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Inaugural Grand Valley Days Bike Poker Run• 10 a.m. – “The Good Old Days” parade, East Second Street, followed by Firemen’s Street Sports and Kids Bike Rodeo, Literacy Center lawn• 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Morrisiana Pie and Ice Cream Social, Morrisiana Community House• 2 p.m. – Fun and games, Grand Valley Pub and Grille parking lot• 7 p.m. – Rodeo, GVPA Arena• 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. – Free street dance with REDXX, Cottonwood Park• Information: (970) 285-7719
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