Costa Rican Rodeo – A Drunken Brawl Where People Are the Targets
Attending a rodeo seemed like an opportunity to witness a bit of local culture in an otherwise culture-less visit to the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, so I agreed to split the $60 round-trip taxi fare from Santa Teresa to Cobano with five other people. The bull riding was routine, except for the fact that dozens of (mostly drunk) people were in the ring with the bucking Brahmas. Once the cowboys were thrown, the bulls turned their fury on the surrounding people. You’ve heard of slapping the bull on the ass? Well, the point of this rodeo seemed to be to slap the bull between the horns without getting gored or trampled. Some participants came fully equipped with bullfighter capes and fake swords; others donned super hero costumes, apparently convinced the outfits made them indestructible. A couple of young men succeeded in hitting the mark as they streaked in front of the bull at full speed, but two were trampled in the attempt and had to be carried out of the ring. Both appeared later in the evening, apparently unharmed, except for the noticeable limp exhibited by one of them.