A quinceañera party that became a national circus in Mexico after a video invite went viral on social media ended in tragedy on Monday when a man was trampled to death by a horse.
According to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office of the northern central state of San Luis Potosí, one man died and a woman was injured during the party’s traditional horserace known as “La Chiva.” The two reportedly were run over by the horses when they tried to cross the dirt track during the middle of the race.
The bizarre birthday bash, known throughout Mexico as los quince de Rubí, became an internet sensation as a video invite made by the girl’s father welcoming “everyone” to the party was shared thousands of times on social media. Within days, the invite had spawned a whole series of memes and Facebook events that attracted more than a million confirmed guests.
The bizarre internet phenomenon, fueled by Mexican humor, got tons of press coverage and eventually became a real event, as thousands of partygoers and media types from across the country descended on the small municipality of Charcas in San Luis Potosí to do live broadcasts and blogs.
Predictably, the joke got out of control.
State and municipal police deployed a massive security operation throughout the area to maintain public order as thousands of people arrived in the normally quiet town. Mayors attended the event to gladhand with constituents and a politician even showed up to give Rubí a brand new car.
Brands tried to market themselves by promoting everything from discount flights to the party, to music playlists and video games. Some celebrities also jumped in on the action by asking to sing at the quinceañera party.
Rubí made the cover of Mexican gossip magazines and her family was invited to several talk shows where they were paraded in front of the cameras as a humble family who had mistakenly struck overnight internet fame.
Rubí and her family were visibly distressed throughout the ordeal, as cameras flashed and reporters shoved each other to get a soundbite during the party. “Animals are more reasonable than the press,” Rubí’s mother reportedly told a group of journalists who were making a fuzz before the religious ceremony.
The party, which continued even after the unexpected death at the racetrack, ended up seeming like a cruel joke. It was forced and distasteful, and something that perhaps never should have left the internet and ventured into the real world.