The FoodMaxx Arena at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock hosted a sellout crowd on Sunday evening for the wildly popular Portuguese Bloodless Bullfights. While the venue has hosted numerous bullfights in the past, most recently in April for the Central Valley Portuguese Festival, this was the first time ever the event has taken place during the county fair.
Prior to the bullfighting, a brief ceremony took place to recognize queens and princesses of the Turlock Pentecost Association, which hosted the day’s festivities.
The event saw groups from Turlock and Merced show up to showcase their skills in front of an enthusiastic fair crowd. The two Turlock bullfighting groups, the Grupo de Forcados Amadores de Turlock and the Aposento de Turlock, looked to put on a show in front of their home crowd.
Steven Camboia has been a member of the Grupo de Forcados Amadores de Turlock for 12 years, serving as the front man who catches the bull. He shared his thoughts on competing at the fairgrounds for the very first time.
“A little nervous, but you just have to overcome it,” Camboia said. “It’s a nervous kind of sport but being in front of the big fair crowd is something pretty exciting.”
One of his peers shared similar thoughts as he quickly walked by.
“If you’re not nervous, this isn’t for you. This is crazy sh-t. Not everybody is built for it. And if you’re not fired up to see this, you shouldn’t be here,” he said.
Once the show began, the Grupo de Forcados Amadores de Turlock did not disappoint as they opened the show in exciting fashion, successfully landing all flags on the bull before the team entered the arena to capture it. The Turlock group mirrored their success later that night, also capturing the fourth bull of the evening.
The Aposento de Turlock also impressed in their performance. Despite one of the bullfighters suffering a minor leg injury, they were all able to successfully capture the bull and receive a roaring ovation from the Turlock crowd.
“It’s always super fun to come out and watch the bullfights,” said Turlock’s Amber Lopez. “Being at the fair for the first time, people are excited and it’s something they should bring back for the next years.”
Similar events will be taking place as the 2022 fair continues. Wednesday will feature the PCRA Rodeo and Sunday will feature the Hispanic Rodeo. Wednesday’s show is $12 while Sunday’s is free of charge.