Finding your character

Words by Matthew Masin
Photos by Matthew Masin and Cara Wilwerding

Photo by Matthew Masin
Photo by Matthew Masin

How do you find the most interesting person at a cockfight?

Everyone  is yelling, screaming, waving money around and drinking. It all looks pretty interesting to me.

Photo by Cara Wilwerding
Photo by Cara Wilwerding
Photo by Matthew Masin
Photo by Matthew Masin

For the first few cockfights I attended, it was nearly impossible in my head to figure out how to find someone to tell my story through, but that’s why talking with Bruce, Brian and others on the trip is so helpful. I think i’m close-so wish me luck!

Apparently, there’s a real problem of addiction to betting on cockfights. Everyone I’ve talked to acknowledges this and tells me about people they know who have lost significant possessions due to making a bet their butt can’t cash. Then when I try to ask how I can meet some of these people I’m met with, “I don’t know them personally” or something similar.

Photo by Matthew Masin
Photo by Matthew Masin

There’s a lot of shame involved, no one wants to talk about it. They want to have fun at the fight, and not think about money.

This is where going to the same neighborhood day after day has paid off. Finally someone I met earlier was willing to show me someone who has lost their home and their car from betting on fights. This man was too drunk today to talk with me for long, told me to come back Friday to the fight and we can talk then. So, send me luck.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Stanly and Alexis at a fight the other day.

Photo by Matthew Masin
Photo by Matthew Masin

These two were running in and out of the ring, grabbing the losing rooster and bringing out to the curb to smash it’s neck against a wall, tear off the feathers and bag up the meat.

Photo by Cara Wilwerding
Photo by Cara Wilwerding

Turns out, they disembowel the roosters for about $1 a pop and give the money to their father.

These quirky, smily and innocent kids are also really good mechanics, too. If there was more time, i’d love to do a story solely on them.

Photo by Cara Wilwerding
Photo by Cara Wilwerding

Feliz ano nuevo!

-M.

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One thought on “Finding your character”

  1. Nice story, Matt and Cara. Culturally, it’s hard to imagine two kids smacking the losing rooster on the curb……you’re doing a great job of “bringing this home” for all of us to understand. Happy New Year to all of you….be safe.

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