By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Confronting a 2,000-pound angry bull in a rodeo arena before thousands of spectators doesn’t intimidate Kenefick bullfighter, Bryce Redo (pronounced “Re-Dough”). The 26-year-old former bull riding champion-turned-bullfighter says he feels clarity and focus in the arena as he anticipates a bull’s movements and actions.
After nine years of competitive bull riding around the country that was highlighted with a world championship win in Mexico in 2014, Redo transitioned into bullfighting, not because he could no longer compete, but because he wanted a new challenge.
Since then, he has worked at some of the biggest bull riding competitions in the world, including the George Paul Memorial Rodeo in Del Rio, Texas and the Bullfighters Only competition in Las Vegas. He is a two-time winner of the Bullfighter of the Year award for 2018 and 2019 for the Cowboy Professionals Rodeo Association.
Redo said he was “thrown to the wolves” as he made his entry into the sport.
“A spot came open for a bullfighter at a freestyle competition in Lampasas, Texas. Everyone told me to sign up, so I did. There were no other stepping stones for me,” he said. “I knew I had to survive if I was going to try it.”
The sport hooked Redo and the bulls didn’t. He spent the better part of last summer traveling the rodeo circuit and honing his skills. Starting Saturday, Jan. 18, Redo will travel with the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour that begins in Hobbs, New Mexico.
He describes his style of bullfighting as athletic and cattle-savvy. He honed his skills after watching YouTube videos of renowned bullfighter Cody Webster. Without copying Webster’s style, Redo said he took parts of it and incorporated them into his own style.
“You can’t outrun a bull. You can’t overpower him or have more strength than him. The only advantage a bullfighter has is his mind. We have to outsmart them. I want to be able to control the bull and make him do what I want him to do,” Redo said. “Bullfighting, to me, is sort of like David and Goliath.”
Redo is the son of two bull riders – Kenneth Redo and Justine Sullivan. Though he lived in Crosby at the time – attending Crosby High School – his rodeo experiences began at the Bar-N-Bar Ranch in Dayton, owned by Mutt Neuman.
“I grew up riding bulls there at Bar-N-Bar Ranch. When I decided to fight bulls, I put on my cleats and said, ‘This is how I am going to make my living,'” he said.
With a little luck, Redo estimates that he will continue fighting bulls for the next 15 years or so.
“If I play it smart, I can do this, but if I get dumb and reckless, I might only be able to stay in for another five years,” he said.
When asked if he has a Plan B for his life in the event that bullfighting comes to an abrupt end, Redo said his plans still include rodeos.
“I’ve had multiple jobs. I can weld and pretty much do anything. Here lately I have been learning to team rope. Maybe that will be my Plan B,” he said.
When asked if bullfighting is lucrative enough to support his girlfriend, Laci Reynolds, and their daughter, Haizlee, 13 months old, Redo says he is able to make a living if he stays busy.
The rodeo circuit has provided him with opportunities to travel and see the country with the support of his sponsors – Panhandle Slim, Rock ‘N’ Roll Denim, American Hat Company and Full Bore Lifestyles (which makes his jerseys).
“I know I will not be a millionaire, and that’s okay. I pay my bills and I am doing what I love. I am building my dream instead of someone else’s,” he said.