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Lasso tournament ends in the death of another young vaquero

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A vaquero was killed in Kanasín when a bull charged him during a lasso tournament. Photo: Por Esto!

An illegal lasso tournament in the Kanasín community of San Antonio Tehuitz ended in tragedy Sunday when an 18-year-old vaquero slipped from his horse in the path of a charging bull.

The cowboy, a local man whose identity was not announced, was gored in the Plaza de Toros El Retoño arena. A packed stadium erupted in shrieks as the bull ran toward the slender jockey from across the field. The horse managed to escape injury.

The man later died in a Red Cross emergency room from a perforated lung.

Lasso tournaments are bloodier versions of rodeos and were outlawed in Yucatán. But they still occur by popular demand when local officials turn a blind eye, according to the Por Esto! newspaper.

Last year, a clandestine lasso tournament in Baca was shut down by state police. Around a thousand people were in attendance.

In Tizimín, the mayor of Panabá denied being an organizer of a 2019 lasso tournament in which three horses were badly injured.

Indeed, the spectacles more often end up with horses being gored. But they are risky for anyone in the ring.

In 2017, a 23-year-old jockey died in Ucú during a lasso tournament.

Their supporters maintain that lasso tournaments are part of Yucatán’s heritage and protected from animal-safety laws on those grounds.

A loophole under state law gives municipalities authority to authorize animal exhibitions if they are in “traditional roles or playing out a community custom.”

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