TURLOCK, Stanislaus County (CBS SF) — Portuguese-style bullfighting tradition has taken root in California’s Central Valley. This style of bullfighting differs from the Spanish-style in the fact that the bull isn’t hurt or killed.
The same promise to not hurt the animal is not given to those who choose to step into the arena, and test their courage against the bull.READ MORE: UPDATE: Suspect Arrested After Armed Standoff In San Jose Neighborhood
“We’re just amateurs. We just go out there for the tradition, for the love of the sport, for the brotherhood,” said George Martins Jr., Captain of Forcados Amadores de Turlock.
The forcados are the bullfighters. In Portuguese tradition, they taunt the animal in hopes that it will charge them. They follow the cavaleiros who battle the bull from horseback into the arena.
Martin says that in the Portuguese tradition one only has to grab the bull by the horns and that’s it. In Portugal, the bull doesn’t die, and there is absolutely no blood shed here in California. The bullfights have been created to always be bloodless. The cavaleiros use a velcro-tipped banderilla and a short spear-shaped tool, which attaches to a velcro pad on the bull’s back.READ MORE: San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin Recall Supporters Submit 80,000 Signatures; Vote Likely Next June
After the cavaleiros finish what they call their “dance with the bull,” the forcados enter the arena. They challenge the bull directly, aiming to grab the bull by the horns without any protection or defense.
“Being a bull grabber teaches you some life lessons,” said Martin. “It teaches you how to be tough, how to overcome obstacles.”
Bullfighting is a dangerous sport. In the recent bullfight season, forcados were tossed and trampled by the enormous bull. Martin says oftentimes it takes more than one attempt to grab the bull by the horns successfully.
“This is definitely something you have to want it 100%. It’s not something that you can just inherit,” Martins said.MORE NEWS: FBI Gang Enforcement Operations Lead to Charges in 2 Attempted Homicides in East Bay