Bloodless bullfight held in Rosenberg

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">These photos are from the bloodless bullfights held at the Ft. Bend County Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 5.  It was the first bullfight in southeast Texas in 20 years.</span></div>
July 7, 2008 8:08:36 AM PDT
Enrique Delgado humbly lowered his head in prayer before a makeshift altar holding the rose-framed portrait of his patron saint, a stark contrast to the glittering matador who would face a huffing, hoof-pounding bull in less than one hour. PHOTOS: See images from the bullfight event

"We put ourselves in the hands of God," Delgado said in Spanish. "God is always important, especially for toreros, who are always in danger."

Delgado was one of three matadors to confront four young bulls Saturday at a "bloodless" bullfight sponsored by World Class Tejas Bullfights, a project co-founded by William Carter and Don Dulin.

Bloodless fights, which started in the United States after activist groups complained about bulls being harmed during traditional fights, are considered even more dangerous for bullfighters because they lack a weapon for defense.

"The animals here are pampered," said Carter, a Fort Bend County juvenile probation officer. "They are in a shaded area, and they are fed frequently. We're more worried about the matadors."

Carter said he and Dulin decided to hold the event because it was something unique to the area, and they felt it would attract the area's large Hispanic population.

"Everyone does rodeos and dances, that type of thing," he said. "We wanted to bring something to the Houston area that it hadn't seen in a long time."

The duo hopes to use the profits to create scholarship programs for students who want to attend trade school.

Carter said his experience in working with troubled teens fueled the efforts. He was disappointed with the turnout, which was no more than 1,000 people. The arena had a capacity of 7,000.

Carter and Dulin footed the bill for most costs associated with conducting the bullfight.

In a bloodless bullfight, the matador plucks a Velcro-attached rose from between the bull's horns. Instead of having a sword plunged into it as a finale, the animals are simply escorted back to their pens when they get tired.

Delgado was the first person to approach a bull. Afterward, he said it all went well.

"The people had a lot of fun, and that's very important," he said. "There were a lot of Americans and a lot of Mexicans, and for me that's great."

Fred Renk, who supplied the bulls and the bullfighters, including his son, said matadors are humble.

"They know the glory of the bull, and the glory that the bull is giving them, and it could just as easily take it away," Renk said. "Bullfighting is like a gusano (a worm). Once it bites, it's hard to get it out of you."

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