“I just got this cow to the vet. I’ll get back to you.”
He’s a cowman by week, and a bull fighter by weekend.
Most in the Midwest likely know as a bullfighter at the rodeo, but those around his home community of Randall recognize him best as a rancher.
“I didn’t grow up in the sport of rodeo, but it got in my blood while in college, and just seemed to get stronger. I love the sport and love fighting bulls,” evaluated Peters, who’d then returned to his Jewell County ranch after getting that sick cow treated.
While studying agriculture at Pratt Community College, Peters reflected, “I tried riding bucking bulls in the practice pen the college had at Wellington, and even tried bronc riding.
“Then, I got interested in watching the bullfighters, decided I’d give that a try and found out it’s what I really enjoy most about the sport of rodeo,” Peters added.
After graduating from a rodeo bullfighter’s school, Peters got some contracts working for Kraft Rodeo Company of Abbyville.
“The next year, Jimmy Crowther of JC Rodeo Company and New Frontier Rodeo Company asked me to bullfight at several of his rodeos and bull riding events. That was six years ago, and now I work 15 to 20 performances a year. It’s a great life,” Peters contended.
Yet, it is not without hazards as Peters can testify from the time, he was kicked to unconsciousness by a bull, and woke up in an ambulance en route to the hospital. “When I came to, I assured them I wasn’t injured, and made them get me back to the bull riding event before it was over,” insisted Peters, who actually did have a fractured cheek bone that prevented him from working a rodeo finals the week later.
That wasn’t even a setback. “Everything’s good. I’ve never really been hurt. It’s my job to make sure the cowboys aren’t ever wounded either, if there’s any way I can possibly prevent it,” Peters declared.
With face paint, a jersey, shorts with suspendered baggy jeans, the 28-year-old rancher-bullfighter evaluated, “I wasn’t ever really a star athlete in school, but a bullfighter has to be alert all of the time. It takes the right moves and correct passes to save the fallen riders from the mad bulls.”
Of concern to his wife of 2½-years, Cecilia (Reiter) Peters, a champion barrel racer in her own right, is the danger her husband faces every time he enters the arena. “It always worries me,” Mrs. Peters admitted.
“I take some hooks, a few hits, and have obviously been kicked, but it’s just part of the profession,” recognized Peters, who’s never drifted into the clown-funnyman aspects of his attire.
“I know some jokes, but I’d probably mess them up, if I ever tried to repeat them,” Peters admitted.
Best part of his profession is “the people,” Peters reasoned. “I have so many good friends in the sport of rodeo, and I continue to make more lifelong acquaintances every rodeo. Keeping those friends safe is my objective.”
Recognizing the increasing costs of participating and putting on rodeo events, Peters said, “It just takes so much to go down the road these days, and success depends on community support and sponsorships. I hope that support can continue and grow.
“There are fewer rough stock riders in some rodeos. However, the top cowboys are the best ever, and the rodeo livestock is the best ever. That’s what keeps rodeos and bull ridings such big attractions.”
Contracted for his fourth appearance at the Flint Hills Bull Blowout in Strong City on September 14, Peters credited the quality of that competition.
“Kim Reyer and his family go all out to put on an outstanding bull riding event. They have their Reyer’s Country Store as the main sponsor along with a number of other general supporters over a wide part of the Flint Hills.
“Although Jimmy Crowther has most of the bulls from his New Frontier and JC Rodeo strings, the Reyer family’s Flint Hills Genetics bulls are always a big attraction at that Strong City event, too. They have the best evening of family entertainment of any bull riding I’ve worked,” Peters credited.
Heavily involved in his family ranching, Peters commented, “If I would have gotten my professional card in the beginning I might be working some of the larger rodeos, but where I’ve developed my cattle and farming operation now, I’m satisfied working the rodeos here in the Midwest.”
Still, there’s no slowdown in sight. “I plan to keep fighting bulls as long as my health allows me to protect the cowboys. It is a great sideline to ranching, and so satisfying when I can prevent a cowboy from getting hurt,” Peters summarized.