COCKS FIGHTING

 

A crowd of motorbikes parked in a field in the Sidemen’s Valley. Some men running towards a big tent. Shouts and noise in the distance.

These are the elements that introduce you in the racing world of the Cocks fighting, where the Balinese bet so much, sometimes too much.

In the arena there are only men, women are not permitted. The stench of humanity and blood, mixed with the smell of shoddy cigarettes, is pungent and acrid. It penetrates your nostrils, sticks to your clothes. Within minutes you stink too, you are one of them. And so, you camouflage and remain watching, almost fascinated, the next fighting.

The race is about to begin. The audience raises their hands up, handing crumpled money to the bookmakers. The noise is thounderous. The roar of the bets fills the placid valley.

The blood 's pound of the last dead rooster has not yet dried, that other fighters are extracted from their wicker crates. As gladiators, mindful of their fate, shake the crests, the beak is stretched ready to attack and the spurs are quickly enveloped with a deadly blades.

Before the race, the owners show them with proud, shouting to the audience the list of previous wins. They fight to the death, until the last rupees. A bell rings. The race starts.

A first attack. Then a second. The crowd incites his champion.

Feathers flutter in the air. The hooked paws fingers the ground to find the help and launch the definitive attack. The wattles are moving fast. The roosters know that they are fighting for their lives and are brutals, violents. A third assault. The two flutter up, the neck is raised as to form a collar of thorns. A cock is higher than the other. The view is perfect.

It lifts up quickly the paw and expertly slides the blade into the opponent’s neck.

It all happens in a second. The hit rooster groans and flutters for a few steps. Blood splatters gushing from the wound, then it collapses to the ground. Dead.

The adrenaline rushes among the winners. Bookmakers pay quickly. It's easy money, even if dirty. The losers get frustrated and pock out in their pockets to find some chump change for the next gamble.

And while the defeated rooster is cut in pieces, ready to be cooked, the victorious is petted and put back in the hamper. For today he’s safe, but sooner or later another Cocks Fighting waits him in the endless cycle of struggle for survival.

Written by Sara Falchi - Photos by Paolo Castellari

THE END
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Location: BALI - SIDEMAN VALLEY

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BLEEDING HAND
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THE JURY
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Location: BALI - SIDEMAN VALLEY

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THE COLOUR OF MONEY
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FIGHTER’S CAGE
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FANS
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READY TO FIGHT
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ROOSTER ARMS
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THE BET IN THE HAND
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Location: BALI -SIDEMAN VALLEY

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OPPOSING
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Location: BALI - SIDEMAN VALLEY

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MILITARY SUPPORTER
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Location: BALI - SIDEMAN VALLEY

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QUILL SHIELD
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Location: BALI - SIDEMAN VALLEY

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THE GAMBLER
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Location: BALI - SIDEMAN VALLEY

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TIME TO FIGHT
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THE REST
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THE WINNER
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BETTING AGAIN
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FIGHTERS SHOW
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Location: BALI - SIDEMAN VALLEY

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ALL IN
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THE NIB
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LOOKING AT THE WINNER
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