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Thread: Montedera de toros

  1. #1
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Philly - León
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    Default Montedera de toros

    Bull-riding, a single event in Stateside rodeos, was the entire show Christmas night in this town in the mountains of Matagalpa. The 'contestants', some twelve young, campo bucks in a line, bowed before us, on one knee, hand on chest, cowboy hat in hand graciously swept forward. Melodramatic? As thoughts of movie gladiators in the Roman coliseum bidding the emperor <Those who are about to die salute you> flashed through my mind, I recalled what my wife had told me: several had died in prior years. Too many rode drunk on guaro or chicha, you see. And some bulls have rather long, pointed horns. Those are now being capped.

    The stadium, massive yet compact, is the largest structure in the pueblo. The solidly-built steel stands were such that my seat was also some kid's footrest. When I sat up, her knee was in my back. I hunkered forward for most of the show. (I removed her adventurous foot from my buttocks a couple times.) Between us and the arena was floor to ceiling Anchor chain fencing (malla). (A flash photo showed only fence & darkness beyond.) It puzzled me cause strong, bull-height steel bars ringed the area of struggle. Later it became evident it served to keep the bursting-with-machismo drunks outside the ring. Still, beside the five cowboys on horseback, lariats at the ready, there were 10-15 'clowns' dressed in street clothes inside also. Three had red capes, one sometimes appeared to know what he was doing. The rest milled about and scattered like popcorn when the bull appeared, never far from the fence, which they were well-practiced in scaling.

    As with any big sporting event, the real show, between action on the field, is in the stands. Here, in my wife's hometown, this was especially the case. Ladies dolled up to lure, curvatious bodies pulsating like Jessica Rabbit's, strolling casually around (searching for a seat, friends?) The audience had plenty of cowboys too, ruggedly handsome Marlboro men, eyes forever scanning, never lowered, confident in their dominance of their 'personal space'. Actually there were far more macho cocks-of-the-walk strutting their stuff than there were women in attendance. So fights broke out. Those were possibly the main attraction. Suddenly all those 'clowns' in the arena would scale the fence to its 2-story height forming a lens of bodies suspended over that section of the stands where the pugilists released pent-up testosterone mashing body parts. Those ‘clowns’ pretty well blotted our view. Everyone want to watch. Fights never lasted long, but there were at least five separate flare-ups between bull-rides.

    There were 20 bulls. The first ten or so were too tame, or improperly synched with a spur(?) around their flank. Several came out of the stall to stand placidly beside the fence, undisturbed by the rider on its back. Many of the young bull-riders wore motorcycle helmets, and rocked & kicked to move those bulls to make a show of it. It seemed pathetically comical to me. No one laughed. I didn’t, for sure. Later, we got our money’s worth (admission was 40 cords, less than $2, for adults; kids free). There were 2 or 3 good rides, men hanging on to spinning, bucking thousand-pounds of angry animal muscle & bone with horns. One guy got knocked out when a hornless bull butted his helmet-less head. Another got gored in the thigh. The next to the last bull came out crippled, unable to stand with rider. Once he dismounted, it stood, but could barely walk. The ‘clowns’ couldn’t provoke it to anger. It limped out to join its herd.

    When a bull-ride was finished the cowboys on horses roped it, and, wrapping the rope around a post, would pull the bull toward it, where one would tie head & horns tight to the post. The post was a buried tree trunk with a short Y (main branches) atop; the cowboys would loop their ropes over this Y for easy release. For me, this whole ritual was a big part of the ‘show’. Often it brought a mad bull to its knees, and when the slip-knot was pulled to free it, it seemed tamer, more inclined to seek the gate out and ignore the ‘clowns’, as tempting as they must have been to toss on their horns (none were, though several slipped to the ground being charged, but there were enough jumping humans in their visual field to distract them from ‘cleaning up‘). Two of the cowboys were excellent horsemen, showing off some dazzling maneuvers around the post. One beefy cowboy fell off his horse during a brief show-burst of speed toward the audience. He quickly remounted ramrod stiff in the saddle staring intently toward us searching for any who dared to guffaw. Undoubtedly drunk.

    Beside the stadium, indeed attached to it, is the biggest cantina-bar in town. Framed with tube steel it’s covered in colorful carnival canvas, with several ‘rooms‘ (private compartments) behind the bar. Naturally it has the most powerful sound system in town and the cheapest cold beer & guaro. For this occasion (as for the bigger Fiestas Patronales upcoming) prostitutes come in from Managua & Matagalpa to ply their wears. For many, the bull-riding was only the first course in a night of some serious partying. Life is hard in el campo. My view of the calculus: the infrequent fiesta must counterbalance all life’s knocks & humiliations & seeming futility.

  2. #2
    Active TRN Member marnica's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Matagalpa, Nicaragua

    Default Re: Montedera de toros

    Thanks DY, nice read. It really put me right there with you and spared me the discomfort of being someone else´s foot-stool.
    Here in the real world they're shutting Detroit down.

  3. #3
    Fightin Irish JackMcG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Jinotepe, Carazo.... Nicaragua & OCMD

    Default Re: Montedera de toros

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy-YO View Post
    The solidly-built steel stands were such that my seat was also some kid's footrest. When I sat up, her knee was in my back. I hunkered forward for most of the show. (I removed her adventurous foot from my buttocks a couple times.)
    How very "gringo" of you! The concept of "personal space" no existe in Nicaragua!!!!!

    Nice write up... I enjoyed it. Made for great visuals.
    "If you ain't bleeding, you ain't working!"

  4. #4

    Default Re: Montedera de toros

    great story!

    does anyone laugh at anything?
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama


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