Face it: Every day is really a crap shoot in Las Vegas. Some days are great. Others are so-so. And yet still others are pure hell. But imagine your worst nightmare of waking up to face-to-face to a grunting, over one thousand pound drooling bull – the epitome of True Mean reincarnated - staring you down with flaming red eyes, refusing to budge an inch. And yet you’re tasked to make him “play” with you, armed only with a bright red or pink cape and a Velcro-tipped stick. Goliath had it better. And, if this isn’t bad enough– you don’t wake up.
That nightmare became a real sweaty and death defying reality for some of the world’s greatest bullfighters yesterday when a sparse, but extremely enthusiastic crowd of approximately 500 people, most of whom were Hispanic and spoke Spanish, paid from $60 to $650 each to see a very rare “bloodless” bullfight at the South Point hotel-casino south of the Las Vegas Strip.
The event, staged in part to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, which is this Wednesday, was reportedly the first bullfight staged in the Las Vegas Valley since 1965, when one was staged outside Las Vegas, near what today is Primm, Nevada.
How does the new sport work? A patch of Velcro is fastened to the bull’s back and, rather than using a killing sword, the matador tries to deftly attach a Velcro-coated stick to the bull’s withers. Though it appears they’ve stabbed the bull, the animal is unhurt and walks away to fight another day, as does the bullfighter. Win-win. Or is it?
For the matadors this emerging style of bullfighting is extremely dangerous when compared to regular bullfighting because the animals are not injured or first weakened by the placing of metal spears in the bull before the final kill.
The matadors, wearing the traje de luces, or the colorful sequined suit of lights, included several who are the cultural icons in their home countries of Mexico and Spain, made quite a show of taunting the bulls. Some made $500,000 just for an afternoon appearance.
Las Vegas, the City of Kitsch, would normally have gobbled up this type of event up with fans ya-hooing it from the rafters. But the small crowd in the events center that holds thousands testifies not only to our sour economy but the combination of the limited event marketing and having the event kickoff on non-prime weekdays.
Bloodless bullfighting has just started to take hold throughout the U.S., becoming popular elsewhere, including California.
In Mexico, Spain, and Portugal – the home of bullfighting – bullfights are huge events; parties can go on seemingly endlessly before and after the event.
Outside the event, a handful of PETA members voiced objections to the event, saying that the bulls were in danger and at risk for injury and that promoting bullfighting in general was not a good thing.
The event continues at 2 p.m. today and will return to South Point on Sept. 27-30.