In early May, most of the local “Course Landaise circuits” are in full swing, battling it out for the best acrobatics, dare-devils and those individuals who are just plain crazy! What is the Course Landaise? It is a locally adapted, respectful version of the Spanish “Corrida” bullfight, without the blood and glory aspects of its better known spectacle: Man against beast!
The Course Landaise is a tribute to both young men and women who dare to stand in the sight of a charging “vache”; usually a bullock or heifer that has had their horns taped. The charging “beast” is then tethered to two handlers to make sure that if the acrobatist does not move in time, there will be a “manual adjust”! Thank goodness.
The Course Landaise begins with much local fanfare and those infamous BRASS BANDS — hoompa, hoompa …ing their way through the whole event. All good fun and very enjoyable. The ‘beasts’ aside, where no harm is done or crime committed, it is then up to the bravado of the acrobatists’ and aerialists’ to engage the audience with daring leaps over the oncoming, charging animal or they just might take a dainty side-step and twist in the nick of time. Others bravados with no fear, will put on a blindfold and tether their ankles by a bandana noose and vault over the oncoming ‘beast’ to land very demurely on two feet, surprisingly upright without so much as a scratch to either animal or man/woman! The bravado of the young dare-devil now brings the crowds to their feet with much clapping and cheering, all much appreciated.
Points are scored by officiating judges based on dexterity, ability and sheer brazenness. The participants progress up the summer calendar to a grande finale in the late autumn.
Other variations of the Course Landaise include the ENCIERRA………….. And of particular note in the GERS is the one in NOGARO during mid-summer. This lively and popular local version of the famous and notorious PAMPLONA, running of the bulls, is a much anticipated event and a “must see” and must do! A few photos to peek your interest. Yes, even horses can be seen enjoying a beer in the bar escaping the heat of the sun!! More to follow in mid-summer’s BUZZing in the GERS.
Images: Rosemary Droxler