Originally, the goal was to ride the bull to death. How long this took, we don’t know. Days, perhaps, of relentless bucking and lassoing, cheering and drinking, waiting and then rising to attention with clenched heart, until finally the knees buckled, the horns tipped, and the enormous jowls sagged into the dust. How many jinetes maimed, killed, in a crude ring of hand-hewn logs?
But no one needs to be reminded that, as French anthropologist Frederic Saumade put it, “the ritual of jaripeo dramatizes the relationship with death.” That’s why everyone is there to begin with: for that horrific, mesmerizing possibility of hoof crushing skull, or for the transcendence of the Indian jinete with arms raised and head thrown back saying fuck-all to his conquerors and the daily toil of his fleeting life.
Read more at The Atavist.