This past Saturday I attended a "Los Toros" event held in Miramar, Puntarenas in Costa Rica. As described in an earlier post, the Toros events are a mix between a U.S. Rodeo and the running of the bulls held in some parts of Europe. Now that I've attended one of these very popular Costa Rican pastimes personally, I can add that there were also circus-like elements involved (including an array of popular costumed characters, midget bullfighting, and an amateur soccer game in the midst of an angry bull who had been let loose on the field). Additionally, we were graced with a couple of "celebrity" appearances at this particular Toros event (one being a former political personality and the other an exotic male dancer from Brazil - I had his picture to share with you, but my boyfriend made me delete it).
Los Toros events are surprisingly popular here in Costa Rica. The cost of a ticket for this particular function was 10,000 colones (about $20 per ticket). With all the advertisements throughout the year promoting these events there is obviously a good level of profit being made from them.
Since I am an animal-lover, I struggled a little with the look of some the bulls. Many of them had open wounds on their bodies. I'm not sure if this is caused by the bulls goring each, or if the animal-handlers themselves cut or burn the bulls right before they enter the arena just to get them to give a livelier performance for the crowd. Interestingly, it seemed like some of the bulls were actually having a little fun with the whole thing and that they innately knew when to stop before really hurting any of the 100 or so men inside the field. One overweight man in the ring fell down in front of two different running bulls as he was attempting to climb up the white fence surrounding the perimeter of the field. But both times, the bulls pulled back just before being able to actually gore him, and instead turned their attention to some of the other men on the field.
Admittedly, I did get a couple laughs from some of the costumed characters' antics and really enjoyed seeing the bullriding skills exhibited by a few of the riders. Also, the cowboys who lassoed in the bulls after each mini performance demonstrated impressive talent and grace in their art. Despite the more entertaining facets, I'm pretty sure this will be the last Toros event I'll be attending here in Costa Rica. I'd much rather spend my money on enjoying the country's natural wonders instead:)