Bosnia's 'Bullfight Queen' brings a woman's touch to centuries-old spectacle

Wed Oct 1, 2014 5:08pm EDT
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By Daria Sito-Sucic

VITEZ Bosnia (Reuters) - Renata Pranjkovic, known across Bosnia as the "Bullfight Queen", is one of the few women but best-known personalities in the world of the Balkan bullfight.

The 36-year-old Pranjkovic is a breeder and referee for the bull-against-bull fights, a tradition in Bosnia stretching back for more than 200 years.

Along with her husband Pero, she also trains bulls at their ranch in central Bosnia.

"It's all about love," says Pranjkovic, proudly displaying four champion bulls which the couple trains in the central Bosnian town of Vitez.

"I think our bulls know how much we love and care about them, and they award us with victories," she said proceeding to feed one of the bulls an apple from her own mouth.

Pranjkovic has become one of the main attractions at Bosnia's bullfights, leading the bulls into a pitch dressed in colorful skirts and knee-high boots. This year her bulls won 19 of 20 fights, she said.

Bullfights have long taken place in Bosnia but they differ from Spain's bloody corrida de toros as they do not directly involve humans nor are the bulls killed at the end. In an improvised ring, and sometimes in an open field, the bulls lock horns, push and joust until one turns and leaves.

Nobody knows their origin but similar fights have been organized in Turkey, which had ruled Bosnia and the rest of the Balkans for centuries during the Ottoman period. Such non-lethal fights can be also found in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, as well as in Okinawa, Japan.   Continued...

Renata Pranjkovic gives an apple to her bull in Vitez, September 18, 2014.    REUTERS/Dado Ruvic