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A photographer captured the art of bloodless bullfighting in Texas for over a decade

A bullfighter waits for the release of the bull into the ring march 11, 2018.
Katie Hayes Luke
/
A bullfighter waits for the release of the bull into the ring March 11, 2018.

Since 2008, photographer Katie Hayes Luke traveled to south Texas to document bloodless bullfighting at a ranch called La Querencia. It is illegal to kill the bull in the United States so the bullfighters end the fight by grabbing a flower from the back of the bull to symbolize a clean kill. The owner of the bullring, Fred Renk, an 83-year-old former amateur bullfighter, recruited young aspiring bullfighters from Mexico. Every season the young women novilleras stole the show on their quest to become one of the few matadoras. One of whom is Karla Santoyo from Aguascalientes, Mexico who followed her father's footsteps in becoming a bullfighter at the age of 19. Fred retired in 2020 and his grandson planned to take over but there have not been any events during the pandemic.

David Renk attaches flowers to the back of the bulls before a fight February 13, 2011. To be considered a successful fight, the matador(a) must pull the flower from the back of the bull to symbolize a clean kill.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
David Renk attaches flowers to the back of the bulls before a fight February 13, 2011. To be considered a successful fight, the matador(a) must pull the flower from the back of the bull to symbolize a clean kill.
Lupita Lopez's jacket hangs on the line outside Renk's house at La Querencia ranch in south Texas January 23, 2011.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
Lupita Lopez's jacket hangs on the line outside Renk's house at La Querencia ranch in south Texas January 23, 2011.
Karla Santoyo, a headliner at Santa Maria Bullring says that bullfighting is 'a little bit complicated for a woman because it's a world of men.'
/ Katie Hayes Luke
Karla Santoyo, a headliner at Santa Maria Bullring says that bullfighting is 'a little bit complicated for a woman because it's a world of men.'
Fred Renk, not pictured, a former amateur bullfighter, recruits young, aspiring bullfighters from Mexico to perform at exhibition bullfights on his ranch in south Texas called La Querencia.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
Fred Renk, not pictured, a former amateur bullfighter, recruits young, aspiring bullfighters from Mexico to perform at exhibition bullfights on his ranch in south Texas called La Querencia.
Fred Renk, a 81-year-old former amateur bullfighter, recruits young, aspiring bullfighters from Mexico to perform at exhibition bullfights on his ranch in south Texas called La Querencia.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
Fred Renk, a 81-year-old former amateur bullfighter, recruits young, aspiring bullfighters from Mexico to perform at exhibition bullfights on his ranch in south Texas called La Querencia.
For Karla Santoyo's debut as a novillero when she was 19-years-old at the Santa Maria Bullring, her father, Paco Santoyo, handed down his traje de luces, the "suit of lights" bullfighters wear. She now has 7 years of experience.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
For Karla Santoyo's debut as a novillero when she was 19-years-old at the Santa Maria Bullring, her father, Paco Santoyo, handed down his traje de luces, the "suit of lights" bullfighters wear. She now has 7 years of experience.
Karla Santoyo faces a bull in the Santa Maria Bullring July 2, 2016.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
Karla Santoyo faces a bull in the Santa Maria Bullring July 2, 2016.
Spectators watch as the matadors walk into the bullring January 12, 2020.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
Spectators watch as the matadors walk into the bullring January 12, 2020.
Many matadors travel from Mexico to gain exposure and experience.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
Many matadors travel from Mexico to gain exposure and experience.
David Renk, Fred Renk's son, holds the ears and tail from a cow that are awarded to the matador(a) after a successful fight on February 13, 2011.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
David Renk, Fred Renk's son, holds the ears and tail from a cow that are awarded to the matador(a) after a successful fight on February 13, 2011.
The crowd, a mix of locals and Winter Texans, the snowbirds who migrate south in the colder months, flock to the Santa Maria Bullring to see the young aspiring bullfighters on February 16, 2016.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
The crowd, a mix of locals and Winter Texans, the snowbirds who migrate south in the colder months, flock to the Santa Maria Bullring to see the young aspiring bullfighters on February 16, 2016.
Matador Cayetano Delgado touches between the shoulders on the back of the bull to symbolize the end of the bullfight with a "kill" on January 12, 2020.
/ Katie Hayes Luke
Matador Cayetano Delgado touches between the shoulders on the back of the bull to symbolize the end of the bullfight with a "kill" on January 12, 2020.

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