The Camargue race

The Camargue is a land where the bull, the biou, is king.

Steles and statues are erected in tribute to the best cocardiers (Camargue bulls that have demonstrated their qualities and bravery on the track).

Camargue racing is governed by the French Federation of the same name. It has been regulated and recognized by the French Ministry of Youth and Sports since 1975.

It involves two actors: the bull and the raseteur.

The Camargue bull is a wild animal that lives among its fellow bulls on a farm called a manade. Its coat is black and its lyre-shaped horns point skyward. It is light, supple and fast. Its fighting spirit and intelligence are specific assets for Camargue racing.

The raseteur, dressed all in white, must lift the attributes attached to the bull's head with an iron hook made up of four points. These attributes enable raseteurs to score points in a ranking.

Depending on their age and qualities, shavers move up several categories. They start out in protective racing, with the status of "trainee". They move on to the Trophée de l'Avenir, then the Trophée des Raseteurs or the Trophée des As. He then acquires the status of "raseteur". He is assisted by a turner, also dressed in white. His role is to position the bull so that it responds as well as possible to the raset.

The Camargue race follows an unchanging ritual.

The raseteurs (bullfighters) stand in front of the Presidency and salute it: this is the capelado. At the first blow of the trumpet, the bull leaves the toril. He has one minute to get his bearings. At the second blast of the trumpet, the shavers can shave the bull. During the 15 minutes the bull remains in the ring, he must defend his attributes. The men in white must remove the cockade (red ribbon between the horns), the tassels (white wool tassels) and finally the strings (yellow). At the end of the quarter-hour, the bull returns to the toril.

Abrivado: "arrival" of the bulls from their grazing grounds to the arena, supervised by the gardians. The population tries to make the bulls escape by breaking the barrier formed by the gardians.

Bandido: the opposite of abrivado. It takes place after the race. It allows the bull to return to its pasture.