The Focados 1

Photograph by Deborah M. Zajac

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Portuguese & Azorean Style California Bloodless Bullfights

I first read about these Bloodless Bullfights in California 5 or 6 yrs ago. Since that moment I put it on my “Bucket List”. When I was a girl I would watch the Bullfights on TV while other kids were watching cartoons. Last night I went to a Portuguese Bloodless Bullfight. It was so much fun. The costumes are as colorful and sparkly as I had hoped, the horses are magnificent, the matadors, and the bulls are passionate, and thrilling!
There is an order to how things are done I’ve learned.
First come the Forcados- Eight men that line up to face the bull and stop him in his tracks. The lead man faces the bull and draws his attention then egging him on to charge him and perform the Pega de Cara (face catch). Literally the lead man takes a full hit of the charging bull who grabs the face and head of the bull the other men leap onto the man and bull around the head and front shoulders to stop the bull’s charge.
Once the bull has been stopped all but one man let’s go of the bull. The last man has the bull by the tail the bull chases the man around and around in a circle trying to catch him, but does not succeed.
These men are not professional bullfighters and have no training or credentials for becoming a Forcado, but from the moment they enter the arena they must follow the traditions of old even to the way they grab the head of the bull.
It’s insane and exciting to watch!
Forcados means Pitchfork.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200mm @ 80mm| f2.8| 1/500 sec| ISO 800| Manual Mode| Tripod

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