“I like winning.”
Those were first three words Evan Allard said when talking about freestyle bullfighting.
Allard, who was born and raised in Vinita, Oklahoma, and earned an associate degree in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University, won his first freestyle world title in 2010 and back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.
Legendary freestyle bullfighter Miles Hare said, “(Allard) is every bit as good as we were.”
Allard’s childhood hero was rodeo barrel man Gizmo McCracken, but, at 15, Allard decided to start fighting bulls. That brought an end to his dream of following in McCracken’s footsteps and becoming a barrel man himself, but, at 21, he won his first freestyle title and this time next year he will have been also raising and hauling Mexican fighting bulls for a decade.
In the meantime, he’ll be involved in the next pair of events on the Shorty Gorham’s American Freestyle Bullfighting schedule.
Allard will be among the 25 freestyle bullfighters competing in Uvalde, Texas, on May 10-12 and then hauling bulls to Gonzales, Texas, a week later on May 19.
Allard – already a seasoned veteran among those who will be competing in the most dangerous dance on dirt – will be competing each of the two weekends leading up to the Uvalde event.
“I don’t know,” said Allard, as to whether or not he’ll have an advantage. “There are so many kids right now that I don’t even know. There will be a bunch of them at Uvalde that I’ve never even seen or heard of and they will probably do pretty good. There’s a lot of up-and-coming talent.
“I definitely have some experience on my side, but I’m getting older and I’m getting sore.”
One thing is certain, he’s confident in his own abilities.
And the only time he’s nervous is when he’s hauling bulls to an event.
His only goal is to see each one of them perform well.
“You don’t want to haul a load of bulls there and the crowd be disappointed,” Allard said. “If the bulls are good, the bullfight will be good. If a bullfighter gets hooked or goes 90 it’s good. If a bull sucks, the whole event sucks.”
Ultimately, with more than $1 million invested in his fighting bull program, Allard wants to be considered a dependable contractor.
He raised the reigning PRCA Fighting Bull of the Year, so he’s certainly worthy of being described as consistent.
That said, winning as a freestyle bullfighter and raising a top-ranked fighting bull are entirely different accomplishments.
And neither feels the same for Allard.
“I get more nervous when my bulls are going than when I’m fighting bulls,” Allard said, “but I like the competition factor when I’m fighting.”
He added, “I like competing and then winning.”
Allard’s winning attitude is what attracted Gorham not once but twice.
Gorham reached out to Allard when he needed bulls to help build the Lights Out Fighting Bulls program from scratch. The Oklahoma contractor sold Lights Out several fighting bulls, including The Spaniard.
If he’s not the greatest fighting bull of his era, The Spaniard is definitely the most infamous.
Allard, whose own program has evolved and been more fully developed over the past few years, is not surprised Lights Out has been able to establish itself so quickly, especially with Gorham’s involvement.
“Him being involved is a big step in the right direction because they have somebody who knows what’s going on,” Allard said. “When you do things right, good things happen.”
Allard and Gorham have known one another for quite some time.
The two, who first became familiar with one another as bullfighters, are not competitive with one another — even if they easily could have been.
Allard provides cowboy protection for PRCA rodeos, while Gorham is a veteran of PBR events. Allard likes to freestyle. Gorham has never participated. As contractors, they see each other as allies as opposed to rivals.
Back-to-back AFB in Uvalde and Gonzales created an opportunity for Allard.
And he was glad to accept Gorham’s offer to haul bulls.
“He could have brought some other guys in,” Allard said, “but he picked me, so that means he must think my bulls are pretty good. A lot of times there’s jealousy that goes on with guys and I’m glad that’s not the case.
“We get a long good and I want to continue to get along good.”