Since I am fascinated by people doing unwise things with bulls, I went to the 2008 Spanish Recortadores Championship Final last night at Las Ventas bullring in Madrid.
Recortador literally means "a person who stands out or is silhouetted," and you can see the specific silhouette in the poster. Recortadores incite a bull to charge, and then at the last minute avoid the horns by dodging the charge or by leaping over the animal.
The competitors were 15 young men, chosen in regional contests and semi-finals, and each one got repeated turns to face a bull.
Although photos and film from last night's show aren't available yet, you can see a minute of the highlights from last year's championship here:
My husband and I sat four rows up from ringside and right alongside the cheering section for Josele, one of the competitors. I successfully kept their confetti out of my beer as I perched on the little ledge of granite that Las Ventas calls a seat.
What you don't see in the video is how the recortadores helped each other during the competition to get a good charge from the bull and to draw off the bull in moments of danger. They exchanged hugs before and after each round, comrades in the risk of sudden death. The six bulls ranged between 502 and 584 kilos and were brave: eager to attack. At the end of each round, the recortadores converged to kneel in front of the bull in tribute, and the animal left the ring to applause.
The 2008 winner was also last year's champion, Sergio Delgado from Chichón, a town near Madrid. He received a big trophy in a ceremony that concluded with fireworks and spectators tossing their rented seat cushions into the ring.