By Keith Ryan Cartwright
Alex McWilliams is going home.
He’s literally going home this weekend.
The No. 1 ranked freestyle bullfighter in the world is headed out to California for Shorty Gorham’s American Freestyle Bullfighting event on August 9 in Gilroy, which is only 75 minutes from McWilliams’ hometown of Paso Robles.
He’ll have plenty of family and friends – many of whom haven’t seen him compete in more than a year – on hand to support him.
And even though he aggravated a nagging knee injury, in Mitchell, Nebraska, and had to turn out of Saturday night’s AFB event in Perryton, Texas, McWilliams is confident he will be able to compete like a World Champion contender.
“I’m going let it heal up for a week,” McWilliams said, “and pick up where we left off.”
He last competed Thursday night in Mitchell, where he managed earn another event win despite getting clipped jumping his bull as time expired.
“I had a knot above my knee,” explained McWilliams, who admitted his legs are still sore from when he was roughed up in Albuquerque. “I didn’t get my trail leg up and he hit that knee … so I decided to sit out for a day and let my body heal for five, six days.”
McWilliams said his knee has been loose and that he was recently fitted with a brace.
He’s worn it around the house to try and get used to it, but said it limited his movement.
“I don’t like it,” he said, “but, I think, (Thursday) night it would’ve saved my knee.”
The Albuquerque event was back in May. For his legs to still be sore almost three months later is a reminder of how brutal and unforgiving freestyle bullfighting can be. It truly is the most dangerous dance dirt.
McWilliams and Sage Seay, who finished third in Mitchell and aggravated an existing ankle injury, both pulled out of Perryton, but both bullfighters made the nine-hour drive to the Texas Panhandle together and were on hand to support their fellow AFB bullfighters.
Even the drive was not without an unforeseen breakdown that left them stranded on the side of the highway for an hour, while they waited for parts to be delivered.
“We’re both limping around and the old van broke down,” laughed McWilliams, “but we got the van back on the road. Well, Sage fixed it. I don’t know much about cars.”
On the same night McWilliams won the Mitchell event, Andres Gonzalez won the AFB event out West in Santa Barbara, California. With McWilliams and Seay both watching from the fence line, newcomer Colton Orcutt won the AFB event in Perryton.
Ocutt was marked 88 points to earn his first AFB event win.
Following the trio of AFB events, the Top 5 ranked bullfighters are McWilliams (1055 points), Tristan Seargeant (970), Dylan Idleman (920), Seay (840) and last year’s World Champion Cade Gibson (600).
McWilliams will participate in a two-day charity event before arriving in Gilroy.
“Those will be a perfect tune up for Gilroy,” McWilliams concluded.