Recently in the Texas Monthly news, there was a feature on The Matadoras. For quite some time, bullfighting has been known as a bloody battle with mixed opinions. Bullfighters in the United States are custom to the sport where it’s illegal to kill the bull after the fight– which is a traditional practice to end the fight. Instead, bullfighters are involved in a bloodless battle.
This Texas article highlights a ranch called “La Querencia” located in the southern part of the state known as La Gloria. The ranch opens opportunities for bullfighters to come from Mexico to train, gaining experience from the former amature bullfighter owner of the ranch– Fred Renk, who recently celebrated his 81rst birthday.
La Gloria, Texas brings exposure to young professional bullfighters looking to perform in the bloodless fighting. Rather than killing the bull at the end of the fight, the bullfighters grab flowers from the back of the bull’s neck to symbolize a clean kill. While bullfighting originates from Spain, Portugal, and Mexico (as well as other Latin American countries), bloodless bullfighting is more common in America. This is the only form of legal bullfighting in America, but embraces the beauty of latin culture.
Tracing back to the first record of bulls and bullfighting, bull worship and sacrifice were simply pieces of culture, dating back to 1128, and then in 1726, when Francis Romero of Spain coined the custom to bullfight on foot. Although there were other female matadors before her such as Patricia McCormick and Bette Ford, Raquel Martinez is known as the first professional female matador.
Two of the Matadoras featured in the original article are: Lupita Lopez and Karla Santoyo.
Lupita Lopez, who is very familiar with Fred Renk and the La Querencia ranch, is known as “the Mayan Princess” and in recent years, became a female professional bullfighter– one of only four in the world. Lupita calls bullfighting the “ballet of life”, incorporating dance and style into her sport.
The other Matadora featured in this article is Karla Santoyo, a world-ranked bullfighter in Mexico. Her father Paco Santoyo was also a bullfighter and presented her with traje de luces, which translates to “the suit of lights”– a significant step to her becoming a Matadora.
Novilleras, female apprentice bullfighters, have not been around since the beginning of bullfighting. Matadoras did not always receive the same respect and equality of Matadors. Today, you will still see only a few Matadoras.
With both bravery and beauty, female bullfighters exemplify strength as they carry out their cultural traditions.