HIDALGO — State Farm Arena transformed Sunday into a large bullring for the Bloodless Bullfight as part of BorderFest’s celebration of Spain.
A city celebration that completed its 42nd year, BorderFest is a culture and heritage festival which celebrates different countries every year and brings a slice of culture and history from the particular country to the Rio Grande Valley.
As the clock ticked ahead, getting ready for show time, the six world-class matadors were suiting up in their Traje De Luces (suit of lights) with colors of purple, blue, yellow and green, including the accessories of the black montera hat, pink silk medias (socks) and zapatillas (flat slippers) as part of the attire.
When the gentlemen walked out to the ring, the people sat on the bleachers waiting for them to display their unique skills on the arena grounds. Meanwhile, the four bulls waited in the close-by trailer.
Gerardo Martinez, whose family has bred fighting bulls for several years, said in the 400-year history, there hasn’t been anyone who is as young as Michelito, who has reached the level he has reached.
Martinez was also one of the judges at the bloodless bullfight.
“I’m one of three judges in the ring. Between us, we decide who is the better fighter tonight, depending on their work and the reactions of the audience,” he said in Spanish.
As the show set into action, the matadors were ready with their red capes in their hands. The first bull entered the ring fiercely charging toward the capes; the audience was sitting on the edge of their seats, clenching, awaiting what would occur. The bull neared the audience and the matador swung it around in a quick manner with the audience giving a sigh of “oohs” and “aahs.”
Gustavo Serna, originally from San Benito and currently a Houston resident, attended with a friend and said he decided to check out BorderFest for the first time.
“For me, I actually saw a real bullfight in Mexico City, but I was young, so when I heard this, I decided to see it,” Serna said. “It’s pretty cool and I’m enjoying the whole festivities.”
“I was kind of interested how they were going to do the bloodless bullfighting. Now, I understand,” he added. “People around here don’t see that kind of stuff.”
Dan and Teresa Hyland, who were vacationing from South Dakota, were also interested in the bloodless bullfight.
“We’ve been to rodeos and PBR bull riding, but never a bullfight,” Dan said. “It’s very enjoyable. I’ve never seen one. It’s always interested me.”
“It’s very interesting. Love it. I love the pomp and the circumstance and everything that goes with it,” Teresa said. “I didn’t know the history and what goes into the bullfighting, but they (matadors) have a lot of nerve.”