Rio Grande Valley citizens rarely make the headlines in the Washington Post - unless, of course, they are locally elected politicians and hold a high office in Washington D.C. Well, that can't be said of Fred Renk who is well known for operating Bloodless Bull Fights for at least twenty years.
At 83 years of age Fred has decided to sell his Bull Ring located in La Gloria, Texas. On Sunday, February 16, Fred will present his last bull fight. Two bull fighters - one a woman - will perform before what will probably be a full house. Each fighter will draw for the two bulls that they will fight. The bull fight will begin at 4 p.m. and will not end until around 6 p.m.
Prior to the beginning of the fight, food and drink will be available for purchase. Fred makes sure that you are well entertained with music and trained horsemanship performances before the actual bullfight begins. So, arrive early to enjoy all the entertainment.
Mr. Renk is presenting only two fights this season. The first was presented on January 12, the second and last will be the one presented on February 16. Those who attended the January fight, reported that it was very interesting, entertaining and that they were glad they went.
The big difference in a Bloodless Bullfight and the Bullfights held in Mexico and in Spain is that the bull is not killed in the Bloodless Bullfight. Since 1950, it has been illegal in the United States to kill the bull. As a finale to each fight, and after the judge has given the matador permission to "kill"' the bull, the bull fighter must reach in over the lethal horns of the bull and remove a paper flower that was placed in the same position where the sword would have entered. There are other movements that are similar in the bloodless version to those where the bull is actually killed.
Anyone attending either type of bull fight will appreciate the skill of the fighter more if they understand why certain moves and passes are executed. Therefore, I encourage those who plan to attend to go on a group narrated tour where the guide will share with you the meaning of what you will be observing.
For Fred Renk, bull fighting is in his blood. He was a bull fighter himself, and the father of David Renk, who was the sixth American to reach matador status. David, who was affectionately called "EI Texano,” became the only American to ever receive the prestigious status of a confirmed matador. David earned that honor fighting in the Mexico City bull ring - the largest bull ring in the world. He earned that recognition when he was only 18 years of age.
As the bullfighter walks into the ring, surrounded by his cuadrilla, or helpers, no doubt many a young lady’s heart will flutter. The matador wears a splendidly decorated, tight fitting suit while the band plays an exciting, exhilarating tune for the crowd. Some young lady - perhaps a sweetheart or a wife or maybe just a beautiful senorita - will be especially recognized by the handsome matador as he dedicates the fight to her, or perhaps he will dedicate the fight to the whole crowd. Who knows?
I guess we will just have to watch to find out. A little romance is just a small part of the fight which can become very dangerous.
Both of Fred's sons lost their lives due to accidents in the bull ring. Fred almost died after he was gored in a fight in Juarez, Mexico. Even so, Fred will tell you that bull fighting has been his entire life.
Hopefully, for bull fighting fans, there will be someone who will buy the bull ring and continue offering bloodless bullfights. Currently, there is only one other permanent operation in the U.S where one can see bullfighting and that one is in California.
No wonder Fred Renk made the Washington Post. For Texas - and for almost all of the United States - Fred Renk is a one and only.