Bull fighters distract bulls, protect riders at Snake River Stampede Rodeo

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 19:13:35-04

Rodeos and bull riding go hand in hand, but while all eyes are on the bull and the rider, there are other athletes in the arena at the same time. 

Arguably the unsung heroes of the rodeo, bull fighters stand face-to-face with bulls weighing nearly 2,000 lbs. every night. 

"I'm the biggest fan there and I've got the best seat in the house," said Jimmy Lee, professional bull fighter. "I guess you could say it makes my job fun."

Jimmy Lee and Zach Call are professional bull fighters, protecting riders from getting stomped on or hooked after falling off the bull -- and entertaining the crowd in the process. 

"It's kind of being like the running back and the linebacker all at once," Lee said. "You're kind of playing offense and trying to keep the bull away from yourself, but in the same aspect, sometimes you got to go in and take a shot for the guys." 

Lee and Call -- from Texas and Nebraska, respectively -- travel to hundreds of rodeos around the country every year, working as a team in the arena. They say that when it's show time, they step onto the dirt with a clear mind and a little faith. 

"Sometimes thinking too much, you kind of wear yourself out," Call said. "...and you over think things and then you don't do as good as you could." 

Luckily, neither one of them has gotten seriously injured during their combined 11 years of bull fighting; and they say their love of the animals and the rodeo fans are what keeps them going. 

"The people you get to meet and the little kids and stuff," Lee said. "We sign autographs for an hour and a half to two hours every night after this thing, and seeing their faces and their eyes light up is kind of neat."