Christmas Eve on a gamecock farm

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Words by Cara Wilwerding
Photos by Cara Wilwerding and Matt Masin

Christmas Eve in the Dominican Republic is a feast day, said to be comparable to an American Thanksgiving. Dominicans travel across the island to dine on roasted pig, rice with corn, Russian potato salad, grapes and apples with their families. But rather than feasting, Matt and I took a two-hour journey to San Francisco de Macorís to visit Richard Hernande’s gamecock farm.

Many of these roosters, born and bred to fight to the death, will eventually become meals themselves. It’s tradition to cook the losing rooster after a battle lasting 10 minutes (or until one of them dies). Last week, one of Hernande’s roosters actually killed his opponent in 15 seconds.

Matt and I are anxious to see our first fight Thursday evening. Until then, here are some of the roosters and trainers who made our holiday so memorable.

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