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| 5/31/2011 10:00:00 AM

Bullfights, the Colombian way

May 31--The fans came for the action. The bullfighters for the glory. The bulls, each 1,000 pounds of heaving, sweating fury, had no choice.

And so it was that the bulls, one after the other, were released into a vast, throbbing arena, to be faced down by a squadron of horsemen armed with long pikes, dozens of “manteros” with red capes, hordes of young men swinging sticks, plus a clown or two. The copious amounts of beer and the local firewater consumed by the participants seemed to give the bull a fighting chance.
 
“Right now, I’m hurt in the leg,” said Rigoberto Hernandez, 44, who has been gored 19 times after years dodging bulls. “But that is the way it is. This has been my art since I was born.”

The event is not a traditional bullfight but a corraleja (pronounced coh-rah-leh-ha), a huge, chaotic, pulsing Roman circus of the Colombian variety here in the cattle country of northern Colombia. There is no stirring contest between bull and matador, no highly ritualized artistry as in Spanish bullfights, no sequined outfits, no Hemingwayesque turn of phrase about death in the afternoon.
 
Read more here.

Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.

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