Haiti’s most watched sports: Cockfighting goes beyond soccer

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– Gameness til the End

AP PHOTOS: Cockfighting is popular pastime in poor Haiti

AP
November 10, 2015 12:00 AM

PETIONVILLE, Haiti (AP) — Cockfighting lives on in Haiti, where weekly fights draw crowds of men, hungry for the drama and the promise of a big payout.

The centuries-old sport, pitting two roosters against each other in a fight often to the death, is vilified in the U.S., where it is illegal. But it’s a popular pastime for Haitians, especially in the slums and rural areas of the hemisphere’s poorest nation.

Aficionados defend it as part of the island’s culture.

At the Route Freres cockfighting arena in Petionville, makeshift rooster cages have signs in French: “If you need people’s respect, you first need to respect yourself.”

At the Morne Hercule arena men shout out bets and flash cash as roosters prepare to fight.

Cockfighting fits into a gambling culture that includes fighting bulls and “borlettes,” gaudily painted outlets that play on New York State Lottery numbers. For people living on less than $2 dollars a day, as most Haitians do, the chance to win money betting on cockfights or the lottery is one of the main attractions.

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
a rooster is tied to a wall at the Route Freres cockfighting arena
in Petion-Ville, Haiti. Cockfighting lives on in Haiti,
where weekly fights draw crowds of men, hungry for the drama
and the promise of a big payout.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
roosters are seen inside their cages prior to a day of fighting
in the closed Route Freres cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti.
Part of cockfighting’s popularity is that it fits into Haiti’s
gambling culture, offering winnings to some spectators who struggle
to live on $2 a day.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
makeshift rooster cages with French writing that reads in English
“if you need people’s respect, you first need to respect yourself”
are seen at the Route Freres cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti.
Cockfighting is one of the most popular sports in Haiti, which happens
to be one that is illegal in the United States.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
gamers taunt their roosters prior to a fight at the Morne Hercule
cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti. The roosters are presented and
taunted to make sure they are alert and ready to fight.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
gamblers pay their bets moments after the fight ended at the
Morne Hercule cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti.
Most bets are 100 to 500 gourds or about $2 and $10.
Owners and richer gamblers are known to make bigger bets.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
Haitians prepare their roosters prior to a fight at the Morne Hercule
cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti. Cockfighting aficionados
defend the sport as part of the island’s culture.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
gamblers shout out bets as a cockfight gets underway at the Morne Hercule
cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti. Cockfighting fans defend
the sport as part of local culture and say it is one of the
most watched sports in Haiti.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
a man watch gamecocks battle during a fight at the Morne Hercule
cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti. Cockfighting is a centuries-old sport,
pitting two roosters against each other in a fight often to the death.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
people cheer for a bird during a fight at the Morne Hercule cockfighting arena
in Petion-Ville, Haiti. The gambling on the fights is accompanied by the
consumption of alcohol and food, sold on the premises.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
spectators watch gamecocks battle during a fight at the Morne Hercule
cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015.
For people living on less than $2 dollars a day, as most Haitians do,
the chance to win money betting on cockfights or the lottery is
one of the main attractions.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
a rooster owner grimes as his gamecock fights at the Morne Hercule
cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti. Cockfighting fits into
a gambling culture in Haiti that includes fighting bulls and \u201cborlettes,”
gaudily painted outlets that play on New York State Lottery numbers.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Sunday, Oct. 31, 2015 photo,
a breeder hand feeds a rooster that fought and won the day before
with a mixture of bread and milk at the closed Route Freres
cockfighting arena in Petion-Ville, Haiti. Some Haitians say
cockfighting goes beyond soccer as the most watched sport in Haiti.
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)




poultry gamefowl chicken gamecock

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