Cockfighting

Cockfighting is considered to be a sport between 2 roosters (cocks), or more precisely gamecocks, organized in a ring which is called a cockpit. Cockfighting is said to be one of the world’s oldest spectator sports. It dates back 6,000 years in Persia. Cockfighting is also considered to be one of the most popular games in the world. Cockfighting is a traditional sport brought over to the Dominican Republic by the Spanish. Like all roosters, they will fight over food, territory, or mates. These birds are also used for hunting and are relatively easy to raise. The gaming roosters are specially bred and trained for heightened stamina and strength. The fighting cock is normally a very large, beautifully plumed, and quite healthy.

For a rooster to reach maturity it takes about 18 months. During this time he is fed the best grains that the owner can afford, vitamins (high grade multi-vitamin and vitamin B, usually administered by injection) and minerals to secure its swiftness, strength and fierceness in the arena. The roosters are treated better than many humans. They are highly pampered.

They get shampooed, massaged and held often. There are even instances where the Cock lives in the owners home. The birds are said to be better treated than the wives and children. These roosters are idolized and prized by their owners. If a breeder gains a good reputation as the breeder of winning cocks, there is much money that can be made. Customers will come from everywhere even other countries, to buy their roosters. Dominicans are known to breed some of the best fighting cocks around.

Cockfighting is an old tradition in Dominican Republic and considered to be a spectator sport. It dates back to the pre-Spanish era. Cockfighting is enjoyed by all social levels. Rich and poor alike enjoy a good cock fight. Also a way to have a good time with friends. Going to the arena is defiantly a social event. All gather to watch and enjoy the game, men, women and children. Many of the rings where the fighting is held are very nice. These may have a bar and live bands playing.

The Fighting Cocks are brought to the arena by their proud owners.  Here time is spent talking the feed, raising techniques and who will win this days events. As the owners wait for their birds to be weighed and inspected. Then the matching of the roosters is done. This is done to make the fight be equal in all ways. They will have equal fighting abilities, weights and temperaments. The odds are set. All that needs to be done now is wait for the fighting to start.

The Game

The fight consists of timed innings. The fighting will go on until the set time is reached for the fight to end or a cock  gives up. When the handler/ owner takes his bird into the arena they remove the cover over the birds eyes. They speak to their birds, whispering pointers to their cock. The handler holds his bird up for the audience to see and cheer on while bets are called out. They let the birds see each other and place them close together while still holding them, sort of trying to edge them on. Once this happens the attitude of this once docile, calm, pet-like, creature changes. The frenzy of the audience and the aggression of the bird mean the fight is about to commence.

Then when the referee gives the signal the rooster is positioned about a foot away from the line drawn in the dirt and set free.  The game has started, there is no turning back now. The birds may advance slowly, sizing up the opponent, challenging the other to make the first hit. They may circle their adversary trying to find the most unprotected, easily accessed spot to attack. Many say that chickens are brainless., but that changes when they see this determined analysis of the opponent before making a strike. There is a much more than just instinct and scent that initiates the battle. They look like boxers in the ring. Once they attack it is a very exciting sport to watch.

When the action starts it does get quite exciting. The excitement from the surrounding crowd, the adrenaline can surely flow. These games can become very loud. The owner yelling, telling the bird what to do. the spectators yelling at the birds and the owners. People calling out their bets. Bets are made on a rooster according to the color of its leg band. When you want to bet you just shout it out. Someone will hear you. Even with all the noise and commotion nothing seems to deter the Roosters from their intentness of fighting their opponent.

The only thing for the audience has to do now is to wait the outcome of the battle, while yelling all the while. Hoping they made the correct bet and that there will be money in their the pocket. The judge only has to officiate and hand over the money pot to the winner.