An estimated 2,500 people packed the stands surrounding the bullring to watch "cavaleiros" — bullfighters on horseback — contend against three bulls each, according to the president of the festa.
In the fights, the bulls are tagged with blunted spears that mark the fighters’ strikes, but in theory leave the bulls unharmed.
Alberto Conde, a longtime veteran of the event, returned to fight on horseback; new to the Tracy ring was Jorge Hernandez Garate. This was the first year the bullfights were only on horseback, as previous events included matadors on foot.
But “suicide squads” did return to fight the bulls on the ground. The groups of men from Turlock and Merced took turns facing down the bulls and tackling them at the end of the cavaleiros’ bouts.