Like cattlemen in the US, Colombian cowboys have their own rodeo known as the COLEO. In the Coleo, a group of llaneros on horseback travel at high speeds in pursuit of a bull that has been set loose through a shoot. The bull travels down a track which is long, straight, and narrow (known as the Manga del Coleo – see picture). Then, the cowboys try to flip or drop a bull by grabbing its tail.
The Manga del Coleo is divided into 4 areas. The first area is 50 meters long. This is the preparation area and you cannot Coleo in this area. The second area is called the ZONA PRIMERA (first zone). It is 100 meters long. If a bull falls in this area, the Llanero gets more points. The third area is called the ZONA SEGUNDA (second zone) it is also 100 meters long. If the bull falls in this zone, the rider gets fewer points. The fourth and final area is called the ZONA MUERTA (dead zone). It is 50 meters long. Riders should not Coleo in this area. If a llanero does try to flip the bull in this area, and the bull is injured, then the bull is considered wasted and the rider must pay for it.
The sport is scored in the following way:
CAMPANA = The bull falls and rolls from one side over its back to the other side. The rider gets 20 points if he accomplishes this in the Zona Primera, 10 if he does it in the Zona Segunda.
CAMPANILLA = The bull falls and rolls from one side, over its back to the other side and then repeats this. The rider gets 25 points if he accomplishes this in the Zona Primera, 15 points if he does it in the Zona Segunda. Basically = 2 CAMPANAS
REMOLINO = Three complete CAMPANAS. The rider gets 30 points in the Zona Primera and 25 points in the Zona Segunda.
COSTADO = The bull falls on its back. The rider gets 10 points in the Zona Primera, 5 in the Zona Segunda.
CUARTOS TRASEROS = Only the hind legs fall – 5 points in the Zona Primera, 3 points in the Zona Segunda.
Here is a link to a picture of a Coleo. You can also go to youtube and type in Coleo and try to watch a few videos. They are not great fidelity, but you’ll get the idea.
Obviously, our ideas about humane animal treatment are not the same. However, this is truly a part of Colombian culture. If you get a chance, go and see a Coleo -- cringe and enjoy it!
*Photo by xolkanf