When the bell rings, the fun stops. Before our feet is a narrow passage, to which we look down from a safe height. We are below ground, in the vaults of the arena of Arles.Und as they come, the black bulls of Camargue, especially the Leitstier who Simbèu, as it is called in Provençal. It carries the bell, and follow him other - from the pasture in the truck and then pop into the Arena.Die wooden gates, the animals are towed to their stables. We must briefly look into it through a hatch from above. The bull looks back. Watching that jump quite high, says Gérald Rado. He teaches bullfighting in Arles. "In the Rhone Delta from Montpellier to Marseille, there are nearly 900 races in the season, which is from March to November, and many villages have arenas and organize the Course Camarguaise." The Course Camarguaise differs from the bloody corrida. In the course a dozen Raseteure, some tour Eure and the bull are facing. The Tour Eure steer the bull off and the Raseteure must tear his small trophies from the horns: ribbons, pompoms, ribbons. Gérald Rado: "If the bull his trophies defended a quarter of an hour: that's a good bull Then he had a strategy that we could not crack.." The bulls come out at the ranch, the farm. Of which there are dozens in the Camargue. Today bulls of Guy Allard are in the race. He is Manadier for 40 years and rented his animals to the arenas. For him, not man the star of the Course Camarguaise: "A well-known bull fights six, seven times a season. He does that until he was 15. And the organizers know exactly what they want and what Taurus has a reputation." It is at 17 am, in half an hour begins the competition. On the other side of the arena, also underground, is the small infirmary with private OP. And this is also the dressing room. Today fighting not professionals but the students, so the horns of bulls are packed so that they are blunt. Charlie trained for a year: "We prefer shinguards and wrap our fingers in our hands we hold the Crochet, a small metal claw with which we shut obtain the trophies of the horns.." Time for warming up. A historic moment, because this tunnel of stone is ancient: Right here, on this sandy soil, through this tunnel came the Roman gladiators in the ancient beginning. The gladiators of today wearing sneakers, white trousers and white shirt, on the back of their surnames: ROUSTAIN, Delgado, Martin, Zelphati, Bressy, Balti. The fight begins. The first bull dashes out of the stables. He prances, pawing with his hoof and gets one minute to find your way. Then enter the Tour Eure in action. They attract the attention of the bull with shouts and gestures to register so that the Raseteure can transform and attack. Time and again, reports the announcer: He is by when the prize money is raised for a trophy. In major competitions, when all 11,000 seats are filled, it comes to a few thousand euros. today there are only small sums for the students. The sponsors are from the region: hotels, restaurants, insurance companies, car companies. Especially the second bull has it, he always jumps over the red barricades and lands in the "Contre runway", the circulation between Arena and audience. In those moments you understand why bullfighting opponents as the "Comité radicalement Anti-Corrida" also reject this variant. The bull has to serve for the amusement of people and can involve breaking almost every bone. And, say the opponents, the organizers distance themselves not sufficiently clear from the deadly Corrida - exist in Arles namely also. Six bulls, six by fifteen minutes the Raseteure pick the trophies of the horns, the audience goes with, the mood is good: It's bullfighting season in Arles. But, it is a very masculine season. Gérald Rado: "There are no women One day there will be one, and that would be nice They say we are machos, but no, it is this very physical, so it would just not be easy for the women...." How physically the Course Camarguaise may Gérald Rado has experienced itself: Once the bull has gored him from below through the loin, 30 centimeters deep. Gérald was very lucky: After 18 days, he says, I was back in the arena. 18 days? He laughs and says: We are just all crazy.
Photojournalist | GERMANY | Dirk Gebhardt
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