Legendary bullfighter Shorty Gorham, best known for his cowboy protection at PBR events, is reviving the forgotten sport of American freestyle bullfighting and creating a new generation of super star athletes with the formation of Shorty Gorham’s American Freestyle Bullfighting.
Gorham has been fighting bulls for a quarter of a century and as his own career in the arena nears its end, the formation of AFB is a natural progression for the California native, who makes his home in Cotulla, Texas. Building on his own name recognition, Gorham looks to capitalize on his decade of fighting bulls at the elite televised level of PBR competition, where he also serves as a television commentator for CBS and CBS Sports Network.
As much as American freestyle bullfighting is a premiere western sport, the AFB is an extreme sport pitting one freestyle bullfighter against a Spanish fighting bull in a matchup best described as “The Most Dangerous Dance On Dirt.” The AFB is the ultimate salsa dance with one man and one animal alone in an arena in a matchup of skill, finesse and athleticism versus power, size and ferocity.
“This ain’t no bull ride,” said Gorham. “It’s the bullfighter’s turn to shine.”
Freestyle bullfighting is 40 seconds of nonstop electrifying intensity with the spotlight tightly focused on the bullfighter and bull performing in the center of the arena.
Unlike cowboy protection, in which bullfighters work to keep bull riders and other cowboys safe and out of harms-way, freestyle bullfighting calls for the bullfighter to engage 1,000-pound+ fighting bulls that are born meaner, faster and more agile than their much larger counterparts.
Freestyle bullfighters can be saved only by their own physical abilities and experienced decision-making.
Like bull riding, individual scores for both cowboys and bulls represent half of their total score.
Judges score bulls based on how hot they are – in other words, their willingness to engage its opponent for the entire 40 seconds – while freestyle bullfighters are assessed points for their own willingness to face off one on one with Spanish and Mexican fighting bulls without seeking a reprieve by scaling the arena walls. They also earn points by performing crowd-rousing tricks like a head on Super Man jump over the length of a bull running straight at them at full speed.
Gorham is looking to use his own brand to create a new generation of western sports superstars.