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Airman gored by bull calls it ‘all in a day’s work’

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- First Lt. Jeremy Sparks (right) moves in to protect a bull rider Aug. 1 at Cheyenne Frontier Days.  The lieutenant helped protect more than 1,500 contestants during the world's largest outdoor rodeo.  He is a missileer with the 90th Space Wing at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Nicole Walters)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- First Lt. Jeremy Sparks (right) moves in to protect a bull rider Aug. 1 at Cheyenne Frontier Days. The lieutenant helped protect more than 1,500 contestants during the world's largest outdoor rodeo. He is a missileer with the 90th Space Wing at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Nicole Walters)

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. (AFPN) -- The bullfighter stands focused: four hooves, two 18-inch horns and 2,000 pounds of bull attempting to buck its rider is charging wildly toward him.

In this case, 1st Lt. Jeremy Sparks is the target. Unlike a Spanish version with a red cap and tights, the lieutenant is the western bullfighter responsible to protecting cowboys. Some may call them rodeo clowns, but to rodeo experts, they are bullfighters.

Lieutenant Sparks, who is a missileer assigned to the 90th Space Wing here, recently remembered why bullfighting is not the safest of sports regardless of the version. He was gored July 24 and kicked in the head July 28 during Cheyenne Frontier Days where he has been bullfighting for three years.

Because Lieutenant Sparks wears protective padding, the bull’s efforts were in vain. He walked away with mere scratches.

Lieutenant Sparks believes safety is paramount: the bullfighters and bull riders work together to minimize risks.

“We take all the precautions we can and are proud to protect the cowboys on the bulls,” he said.

“I get to represent the Air Force in a unique way,” said Lieutenant Sparks, who is the Air Force’s only sponsored bullfighter.

He said being a bullfighter is a lot like being in the Air Force. There is a job to be done, a mission to remain focused on and people to keep safe. He proudly wears the Air Force logo to always remind the crowd of the importance of the Air Force and its mission.

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