Puerto Rico Cockfighting at Club Gallistico
Whether or not you may agree with it, cockfighting still exists as a gaming sport in Puerto Rico and is considered to many as an important part of the island’s cultural history. First introduced by the Spanish in the 16th century, the sport was briefly banned in the late 1800’s until it was legalized in 1933 and became subject to government regulations relating to designated arenas, breeding, fighting practices and betting.
Club Gallistico caters to both locals and tourists offering several admission price promotions, including a tourist entrance fee of $5. You will enter on the upper level of the arena, which looks down into the well-lit artificial turf fighting ring where the cockfights take place. Walking around the upper ring, spectators will pass the pens holding the gamecocks and will be able to see the handlers filing the bird’s feet and attaching small spurs onto them prior to their fight. The upper ring also houses a small bar, which is useful for both the faint of heart and over zealous cockfighting enthusiasts.
The gamecocks are loaded into plastic cages from the upper level and lowered down to the ring. Ringside handlers each unload a bird and begin prepping it for the fight by hitting it with a stuffed rooster before re-loading the gamecocks into their boxes, which are separated by a single divider. The roosters are released and the fights, which tend to be brief, begin until one bird is typically killed or injured to the point where it can no longer fight by the other. All the while, spectators shout out bets, a system based on honor, which continues to exist as cockfighting is revered as a gentleman’s sport. After the fight, the gamecocks are removed and new birds are lowered down to the (blood-stained) ring for the next fights.
6600 Isla Verde Avenue, Isla Verde, Carolina