In a very big way hard work and teamwork sum up Frank Newsom – both in his personal life and longtime work as one of the best bullfighters in the world.
When Newsom is not with his family living near Paoli he’s out there working as “Fearless Frank” to protect bull riders in the rodeo arena.
Newsom’s resume is long as he’s been a bullfighter for well over two decades voted several times by the cowboys to work in the Professional Bull Riders World Finals and other times in the National Finals Rodeo.
Growing up Newsom was taught to “work hard even when no one is watching.”
“I feel like I’m a very blessed man,” he said, while offering a group from the Pauls Valley Rotary Club a glimpse into the life of a legendary bullfighter.
“I just get up every day and get the job done the way I’m supposed to do.”
Early on it didn’t look like Newsom would wind up being a bullfighter, which are those guys out in the arena moving around to protect cowboys as they ride and sometimes violently come off a bull during a competition.
He was 17 years old when he started as Newsom continues doing it well into his 40s.
“My dad didn’t want me to do that. It took a lot time for him to realize I could make a living doing this and I could make a good life with it.
As a youngster Newsom learned he didn’t really have the talent to ride a bull. Instead, that talent was protecting the riders as a bullfighter.
When a young man he hooked up with Hall of Fame bullfighter and rodeo clown Rex Dunn of Waurika.
“I learned a lot of things from him and how to do my job better. The first day I fought a bull and I saved someone a switch went off in me. I knew that's what I wanted to do.”
In those early years Newsom would work more than 180 performances a year, which he says were way too many. Today that’s around 30 shows annually with two performances each time as Newsom is more focused on staying healthy and spending time with his family.
Maybe the most important thing to his success in protecting bull riders – teamwork.
“Me and two other guys work together,” he said. “We’re there for protection; to help these (bull riders).
“Teamwork is key in what we do. You can’t be selfish. You can’t be wanting the glory. It’s about doing the job; where you’re quick and efficient.
“You don’t want to cause any extra activity from the bull. When a bull is moving around there’s an area 360 degrees all around him that we’re responsible for. If it’s just me it can be hard. With three of us we can move in as a triangle. We’re just handing them off to each other.
“If you’re doing it right that bull is going to give up. You can see it in their eye, where they are saying ‘I’m done.’ There’s a science to it.
“When it’s a good team and working well together it flows so much better.”
These days Newsom still works in the arena but also conducts clinics to teach the fundamentals of being a bullfighter.