By Keith Ryan Cartwright
He’s only 17-years-old.
He’s from a small town in Colorado.
But when Colton Orcutt arrived in Perryton, Texas, he wanted to show everyone that success as a freestyle bullfighter is less about age and where you’re from and more about athleticism and fundamentals.
That is exactly what he accomplished.
Orcutt put together two fundamentally sound bullfights – he was 85 in the opening round and scored 88 in the championship round – to claim the first of what he hopes to be many AFB event wins.
“I felt pretty good coming in there,” said Orcutt, of the standalone event that featured two of the Top 5 ranked bullfighters — Tristan Seargeant and Dylan Idleman — in the world. “It ended up going my way and I made it to the short round. All I could really think about was just giving it my all and kind of seeing what it turned out like.”
It turned into a win that earned high-praise from AFB founder Shorty Gorham.
From day one, Gorham has been equally interested in discovering and developing new, young talented athletes as he has been with providing events for the top-ranked freestyle bullfighters in the world.
“I thought he was a great young athlete with quick feet,” Gorham said, “and a good feel for a bull. He’s pretty damn tough too.”
Though he might have been the youngest bullfighter in the draw — he will start his senior year of high school on August 21 — he has a lifetime of experience and knowledge.
His father Jeff was a bullfighter. Though the elder Orcutt focused more on cowboy protection, he was also a talented freestyle bullfighter.
The younger Orcutt has sought advice from his father and developed a cattle sense by growing up and working on the family cattle ranch. And his best friend, fellow freestyle bullfighter Andrew Garey, owns bucking stock he can load in the practice pen seven-days a week when they’re not on the rodeo trail.
That’s where Orcutt learned how to read animals and how to react when they’re hot.
“My goal (in Perryton) was just kind of put on a solid bullfight,” said Orcutt, and prove “age really doesn’t matter.”
He certainly proved he’s mature beyond his age.
Most other 17-year-old bullfighters are not always mature enough to focus on the basic fundamentals. Instead, they tend to overthink and overplay their moves and ultimately get too fancy.
Orcutt showed the restrain of a veteran.
It’s an attribute he credits his father with instilling in him.
“I was talking with my dad when I got home,” the younger Orcutt recalled, “He kind of put it into my head when we first started, it doesn’t matter who shows up or what their ranking is because it’s all part of it.
“It’s gambling game,” he continued. “The top guy, heck, he could get the worst bull out of it all and he could go dead last and then some small-town guy can come in there and get the best bull and just go 90 on him.”