Life With the Bulls


Bonifay, FL --- The 69th annual Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo ended Saturday night. While many in Bonifay enjoyed the festivities few actually know what it's like to be on the other side of the fence, to look a reckless bull straight in the eye, and have your job be to put your body, your health, and even your life on the line every single performance.

Bullfighter Matt Baldwin has spent 22 years calling this his office, dealing with hot-headed co-workers, and having a unique job description.

"Just try to not let any bull riders get run over. That's my job and that's what I'm here to do. It's gonna happen, but I don't want it to be my fault. So, just go out there and do my job and everybody walks out, it'll be a good night."

Though, not everyone's always able to leave unscathed.

"I've made a few trips to the hospital and that's never fun, but you expect it when you start. You know that'll be part of it. So you just try having fun with that, too."

Despite the risk, he keeps coming back.

"Some times there's som eanxiety, a little bit of nervousness or whatever. The most dangerous part about my job is getting here. If you can get here safe, you got it half whooped."

While most couldn't imagine a life like Baldwin's, it's the only one he's ever dreamed of.

"I knew I was gonna be in the sport of rodeo from the time I was about three years old. Actually meeting a bull fighter, Rex Dunn, I met him at a rodeo here in central Florida, and just meeting him, and going back, and him signing me an autograph is what sealed the deal for me."

Now, Baldwin sees the effect he has on the future of rodeo, and how vital it is to give back like his hero.

"They love it. They're interested in it more than anybody it seems like and I do try to take the time because I never forgot that. He didn't have to take the time to talk to me and my little brother, but here I am. It's all his fault."


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