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In this occasional series, OZY takes to streets and neighborhoods across the globe to ask a simple question: “How was your day?”

Salvador Sanchez, 17
Huamantla, Mexico

My father, cousin and I got up early to check on our roosters and prepare for tonight’s fights. From where I live, in Apizaco, it’s only 30 km to Huamantla — but traveling stresses the birds out. When a bird is stressed, its legs become very stiff and it will not fight well, so when we travel long distances with them, we must leave a full day in advance. That gives them time to rest and relax properly.

Before leaving the house, we weighed each bird and decided which ones would fight tonight. Then we fed them, put them in their traveling cages and drove them to our hotel here in town. Right now, they’re at the hotel, relaxing. My cousin will go pick them up for their fights in a few hours so the officials can weigh them again just before their fights.

Me, my father, my father’s father and my cousin are all galleros. I started helping with the roosters when I was just 2 years old, and my grandfather, who is 69, still fights. It’s a sport for life, and a sport for the whole family, something we do together. We have so many trophies at our home — decades of them! I always have special pride when we win another.

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Salvador Sanchez, 17, poses for a photo in Huamantla, Mexico.

Source Alex Washburn/OZY

A lot of special care goes into raising the birds. The roosters are all raised desde el huevo (from the egg), and we feed them corn and special food from the store when they are babies. At five months old, they must be separated from each other because that is when they start wanting to fight one another.

Between my uncle, father, grandfather, cousin and me, we go through about 300 birds a year. Together, we do one event every week or so, and several birds must be taken to each fight.

When I first started fighting roosters professionally, I was 13 years old. I was very nervous because I was the youngest person, and people would say things about how I was too young. Now I know that I belong. I am still the youngest, but I don’t care anymore.

My uncle, father, cousin, grandfather and I travel in teams all over the country from Apizaco to Guadalajara, Pachuca, Oaxaca, Puebla and even all the way to Chiapas! In Chiapas, there are some women cock fighters too, which is really rare. Of everywhere I’ve been, my favorite cock-fighting arena is the big one in Mexico City. They have these special rooms for each of the teams to prepare in. It’s really cool and makes you feel like a big shot.

Someday, I hope I can fight roosters in the United States. I know it’s prohibited. But all the best — well, not the best — all the best-known galleros fight there.

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