The ancient sport of fox hunting may have been banned in the United Kingdom, but it remains alive and well among the descendents of wealthy British settlers who came to South America in search of less blighty weather and peasant workers who would accept absurdly low wages.
Though some of these Ingleses have been turning to the more sedate sport of polo for their weekend diversions, fox hunting remains a lesser-known pursuit for the well-heeled. And of late, the hunters have been attracting fans. Violent, ugly fans who take the game far too seriously. The atmosphere around a fox hunt in South America often turns tragic as rival fan groups known as barras clash in the meadows and forests. They exchange filthy backhanded compliments and the occasional white glove slap across the face. On derby days, the worst of the barras have been known to draw pistols at dawn and duel to the death.
This is why South American Fox Hunting is Crazy (SAFHIC).
The most recent deadly incident centers around the historic rivalry between the Dukes of the River (aka The Crimson Sashes) and the Barons of the Bay (aka The Royal Bluebloods). Both clans were in hot pursuit of a wily, cunning fox which was soon discovered by the foxhounds lying in a thicket, apparently dead. After some discussion, it was agreed that the hunters would break for a spot of tea and crumpets whilst pondering what to do next.
With the kettle on the camping stove and the hunters busy digging out their hunting china, the little fox quickly jumped up and ran off into the forest! He had been feigning death the entire time. What a crafty, dirty rotten cheat! This sort of nonsense would not stand in the old country, that’s for sure.
A heated argument broke out amongst the hunters, each side blaming the other for failing to properly determine the true nature of the fox’s condition. Meanwhile, and I’m afraid I’ve been remiss in mentioning this prior, the rival barras had been observing the whole fracas from the sidelines, hurling epithets at each other and sometimes even questioning the moral purity of their rivals’ mothers. The fox “diving” incident brought tensions to a fever pitch, with rival fans descending into the meadow for a battle royale. A meadow invasion of this magnitude had not been seen in many a year.
Nigel “Red Nose” Babington, head of the Crimson Sashes barra, marched right up to Hamish “Earl of the Burl” Martinson, leader of the Royal Bluebloods barra, challenging him to a duel, post-haste. Rather than waiting until dawn as is the custom, the two presented pistols and turned around to take the requisite forty paces. This is where most eyewitnesses agree that the scene took an ugly turn, as “Red Nose” Babington reared around after only counting off 20 paces and shot Martinson right in the back of the head. What a coward! The rival barras scattered along with the fox hunters and the wily fox would live to see another day.
Hunt organizers later ruled that the Dukes of the River and the Barons of the Bay would resume the hunt in a fortnight at a neutral forest, “behind closed doors” as it were, meaning no barras would be allowed near the premises. A dark day for fox hunting, indeed.