Of Chickens and Men: Cockfighting and Equality in the South

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Of Chickens and Men: Cockfighting and Equality in the South

by Marko Maunula
Southern Cultures, Vol. 13, No. 4: Global South (2007)

"At the referee's signal, the handlers let their roosters go, and the birds, as if filled with sacred rage, assault each other in a hurricane of feathers, beaks, glittering spurs, and flapping wings."

“Hundred on the black cock! Hundred on the black cock!”

“Fifty-forty on the red!”

“Fifty-forty, red! You and me, okay?”

Two handlers holding colorful gamecocks enter the arena, and the crowds at the Bayou Club in Vinton, Louisiana, start yelling their bets. The audience greets the birds—two large and beautiful roosters, stripped of their wattles and combs—with excited noise. Loud betting and encouragement accompany the roosters’ entry to the center of the pit, a small, sandy coliseum surrounded with wire fence and Plexiglas.