Saturday, December 31, 2011

Diego Silveti On The Move

Since taking the alternativa, Diego Silveti,, the son of the late David Silveti, has been keeping family tradition alive, In a recent Mexico City performance he reconfirmed the initial hopes he set for himself as a novillero, by giving one of the greatest faenas of his life, in which he cut a tail.

In the weeks following this extravagant Plaza Mexico showing, Silveti has had other triumphs as well.

Having been seen in Spain, France and South America, as well as the major Mexican rings, he seems well on his way to carrying on the tradition of his father, uncle,  grandfather and great grandfather. Even an earlier injury in  Sevilla has failed to damper him.

Diego Silveti may well be on his way to figura status.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gaston Santos

He is still with us, though he has not fought bulls professionally for many years. That is up to his son, Gaston Jr, now. Gaston Sr devotes time to the family ranch, raising horses and bulls in the Mexican province of San Luis Potosi.

From the 1950s into the 1980s,  Santos was considered Mexico's best rejoneador and one of the top toreros off horseback in the world, appearing in both Spain and Portugal as well. He likewise starred in a number of Mexican movies.

During a long career, there were many great triumphs for this torero, but also some truly bizarre incidents, such as what happened in the old Nuevo Laredo bullring. Facing a cowardly bull which jumped the fence several times to try to escape rider and horse was a difficult task enough as it stood, but the animal, already judging its distance, had one more plan in mind,. Giving the wildest jump of all, it not only cleared the fence, but the passageway all together, landing in the stands. No one was killed in the mishap, but many fans  were injured. One of the other matadores on the card, Rafael Rodriguez, actually followed the beast into the seats and put it to death it there with a puntilla.

Santos was a mainstay in all of the major Mexican plazas and many minor ones,. Mexico City, Juarez, Tijuana, Piedras Negras, Guadalajara, Aguascalientes, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Nogales and Monterrey were a few of them.

The odd thing was Santos did not seem to like killing off horseback as much as he did on foot. Usually he would make a token entry with the rejon of death, dismount, take muleta and sword and kill with the dexterity of a Manolete.

One of many great showings along the Mexican border saw him kill in just such a way in Nogales, while alternating with Mario Coehlo of Portugal and facing bulls from his own ranch in 1977. He gave a superior presentation of mounted bullfighting, killed on foot with a  demolishing sword thrust and cut two ears.

Santos remains a remarkably sophisticated and educated man, who by the way, speaks eight languages


Friday, December 23, 2011

Antonio Osorio

A relatively obscure novillero from Colombia, Antonio Osorio died before he could truly make a name for himself. He was only 19 at the time of his passing.

In a novillada held in Venadillo, Colombia on May 30, 1965, Osorio alternated with Juanito Gomez to face novillos from La Chamba.

As Osorio attempted to place the banderillas with one of his animals, he was snagged and thrown to the sand. There, the bull gored him in the neck, severing the jugular.

The unfortunate torero had time to rise slightly, with his hands going toward his throat amid a torrent of blood. Nothing else could be done, as he died while being carried from the ring.

The Tragedy Of Legares

Manuel Legares was born in Spain in 1850 and made initial attempts as a novillero before realizing his calling was with the sticks. Thus, he became a banderillero instead, working in the cuadrilla of other toreros.

As was the custom in his era, Legares and his companions engaged in certain theatrics no longer practical in the bullfighting world. One was the pole vaulting over the bull. Not only was this torero accomplished with the banderillas, but developed a reputation for this stunt as well.

Until one time.

While attempting to pole vault over a bull in Madrid, he received a major goring. This did not kill him, but sidelined him for months and when he did attempt to return, hsi health and his nerves were not up to the task.

Slumping into depression at what looked to be forced retirement from the trade, Legares committed suicide in July of 1878 in his Sevilla home.

He cut his own throat with a straight razor.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Museo Taurino In Madrid

There are many fine bullfighting museums in  Spain, Mexico and South America. One of the most established and finest in all the world, however, is at the museo taurino in Las Ventas in Madrid.

In many ways it is a monument to death. One finds the suit of lights worn by Manolete on the day of his death and the torn blue and gold traje Pepe Mata wore when he took his fatal goring. There are the suits worn by the banderilleros, Mariano Alarcon and Coli on the days they took mortal wounds, with the former hooked in the intestines and the later hooked in the heart. A vest worn by Joselito on the day of his death is also on display, but the rest of the suit was shredded in a mad dash to remove his clothes and prepare the matador for surgery, which was never needed, for he died within minutes of reaching the table.

There are the mounted heads of numerous bulls who either killed toreros or provided exemplary faenas.

There is the death mask of Frascuelo. A death mask of Carlos Arruza may also be seen.

There are artifacts of El Gallo, Belmonte, Bienvenida, Bejarano and others.

There are numerous carteles and oil paintings.

There are busts and sculptures.

The magnificent museum is a must see for any aficioando.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Death Of Granero

It was in May of 1922 when Manuel Granero appeared in Madrid alongside De la Rosa and Lalanda. Already expected to replace the dead Joselito as Spain's top matador, the Valencian was capable with capote, muleta, banderillas and sword. He was the one the people had come to see, though the afternoon was filled with ill omens.

Granero had been plagued with dreams of received a bizarre goring through the eye and dying in the ring. He had been warned by fortune tellers of signs of pendign doom and had even been instructed not to go to Madrid, which in true torero form, he ignored. His head banderillero, Blanquet, had claimed to smell funeral candles where they did not exist, just as he had done before Joselito died in 1920.

Yet all seemed to be going well. Granero was applauded with his first bull, losing awards only because when he made his first entry with the sword, the blade struck a banderilla shaft and caused him to miss.

With the second bull he faced, Granero seemed confident. He had been applauded with the capote and started his faena with the pase de la muerte by the fence. It was then the animal gored him in the leg and threw him against the wooden barrier where he was trapped.

Granero's nightmare came to life, as the bull drove a horn into his face just below the eye and into his brain.

The matador was dead by the time he reached the infirmary.

The bullfight world was thrown into mourning,. Pasodobles appeared. singing lamentation in regard to his passing. He was buried beneath an elaborate tomb in Valencia, depicting his body benign taken to heaven by an angel. The black & gold suit he wore the day he died is on display at the bullfight museum in Valencia. Countless books carried photos of the goring and tales of his demise,. He is still recalled today in modern works. Books and DVDs still deals with his downfall,

Manuel Granero is remembered both for how he lived and how he died.

The Death Of Cesar Faraco

Last week Cesar Faraco passed away via natural causes. He had been retired from the bullring for some time, but had been operating a bullfighting school in San Cristobal, Venezuela for several years.

Faraco enjoyed tremendous cartel in the South American rings, as well as Spain and Mexico, where he was nicknamed ":The Condor Of The Andes" for his courageous style and determination to triumph with the most unworkable of bulls.

The matador enjoyed a big fan following along the Mexican border as well. I was on the border, however,  hat he came the closest to being killed. While performing in Juarez, he took a major wound in the lung, but simply proved too tough to die. He not only survived, but returned to the sand in record time in spite of the magnitude of this goring, amazing aficionados and doctors alike.

Cesar Faraco, qepd.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Alfonso Ramirez "Caleserito" was the son of the famed Mexican matador, Alfonso Ramirez "Calesero" and brother to Curro Calesero and Capitan.

Caleserito started in the early 1960s, appearing often on cards which included Manolo "Armillita" and Jesus Solorzano, also the sons of toreros,  as alternates. He had some impressive showings in the border towns and in Plaza Mexico, where he showed he had inherited his father's skill with the capote. The only vast difference in style from Calesero was Caleserito did not place his own banderillas, where his father made this a tradition.

Caleserito took the alternativa at the hands of his father in Juarez in 1965.

As a matador de toros, Caleserito was never able to duplicate his earlier success as a novillero in Plaza Mexico, but did become a hot draw in the smaller plazas. One of his greatest showings came in Nogales in May of 1970, when he and Arturo Ruiz Loredo faced bulls of San Carlos,. Caleserito cut an ear, Loredo cut a tail and both men left on the shoulders of the crowd.

Caleserito retired in 1975 to become a businessman in other fields.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Paco De La Fuente

From 1964 to 1973, Paco and Mario De La Fuente promoted bullfightign in the concrete ring in Nogales purchased from the original builder, Pedro Gonzalez. From the late 1970s into the early 1990s, they rented the ring to varied people, before Paco tried presenting novilladas again in 1991. He also operated a ranch in Durango for many years and used his own animals in some of the bullfights.

Paco helped negotiate contracts for many top toreros to appear in Nogales, most notably El Cordobes in 1969.

Other toreros who appeared regularly in Nogales during the De la Fuente years were Jesus Solorzano, Luis Procuna, Calesero, Joselito Torres, Arturo Ruiz Loredo, Mario Sevilla, Queretano, Antonio Del Olivar, Mauro Liceaga, Fernando Dos Santos, Paco Pallares, John Fulton, Robert Ryan, Leonardo Manzano, Armando Soares and Callao.

Paco De La Fuente died in 2008.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Luis Miguel Dominguin

Luis Miguel Gonzalez "Dominguin" was born in Spain in 1925. Fighting bulls from childhood, he took the alternativa in 1944, confirmed it in Madrid in 1945 and went on to ebcome one of the all time greats in bullfighting. The tradition was in his blood as the brother and son of toreros.

Tradition has perhaps unfairly branded him as the villain who helped push Manolete to hsi death in the infamous  1947 duel to end all duels in which he shared bill  with the legendary Cordoban and watched him receive a fatal goring in the groin.

In truth this bullfight was just a routine corrida geld in a  routine fair, made famous because of the way Manolete  died. It was not a bullfighting equivalent to teh final gunfight with lee Van Cleef, Eli Walalch and Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, but just another affair, though Dominguin was bent on upstagign his older rival. He and Manolete had met in other encounters beforehand and were set to appear with each other in the future, which was of course eradicated when Manolete died, making Luis Miguel the new number one by circumstances out of his hands.

In the decades to follow, Dominguin would become legendary for his exploits in the ring and his affairs with female movie stars outside of it. As he aged he would endure the competition of younger challengers, just as he had done with Manolete in his youth. He woudl retire and return to the ring at varied intervals. He woudl evens ee action in Yugoslavia in specie bullfight exhibitions. He would design his own suits of light..

Dominguin would play a bullfighter in Around The World In 80 Days and himself in the lesser known A Picasso Summer. He would serve as the prototype for the villain in Conrad';s Matador and Viertel's Love Lies Bleeding. He would be documented in countless videos and books about the bullfight. He and his then brother-in-law Antonio Ordonez would be the focus of Hemingway's Life Magazine, A Dangerous Summer, which would later be turned into a book. His own autobiography would appear in the early 1970s, titled Dominguin. He even made an appearance on What's My Line when making a trip to New York.

The legend came to an end in 1996, when Dominguin died following a stroke.

He rests within the Cementerio San Enrique in San Roque, Spain.

Friday, December 2, 2011

From A Dark & Murky Place

From A Dark & Murky Place is a horror book and e book out now. that includes one short horror tale related to the bullring. Orders at

Among the varied short stories combined into one bigger tale is Forcado, about a man who unknowingly buys a forcado cap at yard sale to use as a ski cap and find he gets more than he bargained for.

The cap evidently belonged to a certain Vitor Dos Santos, a satanic forcado killed in the ring, with a stipulation that via ritual sacrifices he may rise form the grave.

Not exactly Currito de la Cruz or The Brave Bulls, but.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Leonardo Manzano

Coming from Tijuana, Leonardo Manzano was a champion swimmer before entering the bullring. In the Mid-1960s, he began as a promising novillero and picked up steam after taking the alternativa. Handsome, dashing and dominating, he looked and acted like a torero in every way possible. Manzano was especially known for his work with he banderillas, placing the cortos el quiebro with consistency. He wad also good with the sword.

Though he was seen regularly in the interior, he was more popular on the border.he appeared regularly in his native Tijuana and also in Juarez. Often, he alternated with the American, Robert Ryan, with whom he shared a similar style.

Manzano took the alternativa in Chuhuahua in 1967 at the hands of Joselito Huerta and Manolo Martinez, confirming it in Mexico City in 1968 with Manolo "Armillita" and Ricardo Castro bestowing the honors.

Though his name was Manzano he was often mistakenly listed as Manzanos in books and in programs, so often that he grudgingly accepted this misspelling of his name whenever ti happened.

Nogales was another border plaza where Manzano became a regular. One of the greatest showings of his life took place in this ring in September of 1970 while alternating with Arturo Ruiz Loredo..He was tossed during the faena with his first bull and took a slight puntazo in the calf that did not hamper him from continuing. Three sword thrusts lost the ear, however, and limited him to a lap around the ring.

With his second bull, he excelled with the capote and placed three great pairs of banderillas, including his anticipated cortos.

He then gave a long faena and capped it off with a great kill to win ears and tail.

A repeat corrida, with old rival Robert Ryan in this same ring a month alter did not go as well. He took a vuelta from his first bull and heard only mild applause from his last when the beast sat down a la Ferdinand and refused to fight.

Manzano eventually retired from the trade and settled down to a quiet life in Tijuana, though he was frequently seen long afterward as a spectator in the area bullrings.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Manolo Martinez-The Book

Not fancy, but a fitting tribute in English to this complex torero from the start to the finish. Hopefully Spanish rights will be sold and a longer edition with a load of pictures will come out from this one day, but for nwo only the English version in book and e book is available. Orders may be made in book and e book from at now.


Mexicali, located south of El Centro, California, has long been a popular border town destination for travelers. Over the decades, bullfighting has thrived there.

For decades, a  wooden ring held corridas with Armillita, Joselito Mendez and  others beign seen. Sadly, this ring burned down in a fire in 1955 and the owner, Santiago Alvarez, died from a heart attack before it could be built.

An odd sidenote would be continual appearances by the fickle Lorenzo Garza. One account has people objecting to his plan to make a farewell appearance in this ring, because over the years he had already "retired' and returned at least 3 times.

In the years that followed, people just went to Tijuana or San Luis Rio Colorado for corridas, but in the early 1970s an effort was made to hold novilladas in the lienzo charro or rodeo ring. Various obscure novilleros  appeared there with moderate success. The high point came when Eliseo Gomez "El Charro" who lived in nearby Tecate made an appear  in a mixta alternating with unknown novillero Luis Martinez.These novilladas would sett he stage for the return of bullfighting on a major scale , with the construction of the 10,000 seat Plaza Calafia

In the early seasons, the promotion would book not one but three figuras for the cartel.  Manolo Martinez would become a regular, where he established himself as a major attraction. On one afternoon he faced and killed six bulls himself as lone matador.

Curro Rivera would become another figura to achieve maximum prestige in this ring, He would be seen on numerous afternoons and score triumphs though a much hyped mano a mano saw him come out on the short end when competing with Eloy Cavazos. The normally popular Rivera encountered problems with the sword and cut nothing where Cavazos cut an ear form two of his three bulls and received a vuelta from the other.

Others to appear in the early history of the plaza were Jaime Ostos, Paco Camino, Antonio Lomelin, Cruz Flores, Bernardo Valencia, El Queretano, Marcos Ortega, Mariano Ramos, Jesus Solorznao, Manolo Mejia  and Ernesto Belmont.

In the 1990s, David and Alejandro Silveti became the toreros to watch. On occasion the two brothers appeared together, as in one 1991 corrida where unexpectedly, Jesus Solorzano stole the show when his second bull of the day received an indulto due to bravery and was sent back tot he corrals alive.

Alejandro was especially known for his faenas and for his performance of the pendulo pass with the muleta  where he shifted the lure and took the bull behind his back.

In recent years the temporada have not been as spectacular as they once were. The promotion has changed hands a few times. Other events such as concerts and wrestling have also been held in the Calafia. Still, the beautiful bullring remains a focal point for border bullfights.

Others who have appeared over the years in La Calafia include Manolo Arruza, Pana, Zotoluco, Chilolo, Napoleon, Fernando Ochoa, Glison  and Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza.

No one has ever been killed in La Calafia, but the banderillero Pepe Luna took a major leg wound that ruptured the femoral artery while in the cuadrilla of Manolo Arruza. Alarm went through the stands as the corrida continued and gossip circulated that the man had died, when he in fact had not, but would survive and return to the ring some weeks later as good as new.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Parade Of Famous Masons

Not a taurine topic on the surface, but this book covers members of the masonic lodge in all walks of life who gained some sort of fame. Orders via now. The project is available in book and e book forms.

 The first section of the book lists famous masons in names and categories, including toreros. The final two thirds offer bios of some of these people.

Among the bios are those of the late rejoneador Zoio and the French torero, Marc Serrano.

Serrano has become a popular figure in the bullrings of France and Spain in recent years.

Also included is the antitaurino, Vicente Blasco Ibanez who accidentally made bullfighting all the more popular when he tried to discredit it with his novel, Blood & Sand.

I feel it might be an interesting read for lodge members and nonmembers alike.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Paco Pallares

Coming from Salamanca, Spain, Paco Pallares gained great reviews and raves as a novillero, with triumphs in both Madrid and Barcelona as well as smaller plazas to his credit. He was especially emotional with the muleta and decent with the steel.

Some critics contend his career was hampered by a major goring in the neck in 1966.

In any case, Pallares continued to strive onward in his chosen profession, but would find greater success in Mexico after taking the alternativa.

Nogales became a scene of varied triumphs. In May of 1971, he and Arturo  Ruiz Loredo faced bulls of Gustavo Alvarez. Both men failed miserably with their first animals, but then cut ears from their final bests of the day. Gaining a return contract, Pallares repeated alongside Raul Garcia in July of that year, alternating with Raul Garcia to face bulls of El Romeral. Garcia cut an ear and Pallares cut ears and tail, while facing the final bull of the day in a tremendous thunderstorm. Sopping wet and trudging across a sea of mud, The Spaniard made a dramatic figure, squaring off with both the bull and the elements to give the faena of a lifetime.

In 1972, Pallares came back to Nogales to alternate with Jesus Solorzano to face bulls of Milpillas.  He took a vuelta form his first bull of the day and cut an ear from his third, which was a sobrero for a bull he fought second and broke a leg.

His presentation in Tijuana, alongside Jaime Rangel and Alejandro  Otero, however, did not go so well.  He  could only manage a few decent muleta passes with difficult bulls and received mild applause at best.

Upon returning to Spain, Pallares retired but remained involved in bullfighting as a bull breeder, promoter and manager. He was still involved with various elements of the bullfight and in other businesses at the time of his death.

His son also entered the bullring as a torero.

The 1916 Double Header

On August 27, 1916, a bizarre double header took place in Spain, where two novilleros were killed the same day.

Antonio Carpio was killed by a bull from Rivas in Astorga as he went in for the kill and took a massive leg wound.

Gorings were nothing new to Carpio, as an admirer and imitator of Juan Belmonte, but this go of things he bit off more than he could chew.

On the same afternoon, another young novillero, Andres Gallego, took a minor wound in the abdomen while working with the capote in La Coruna.

Medics did not diagnose the injury properly, figuring it only to be a puntazo. The torero was bandaged and he returned to his hotel room to rest.

Kare that evening the torero complained of massive intestinal pains. Too late it was discovered he had been hurt worse than expected. Rupturing inside, he fell victim to peritonitis and thsi ebign an era before the advent of antibiotics such as penicillin, he died.

This afternoon in August would have to go down as one of the bloodiest in bullfighting history.

Carpio rests amid a fancy stone in Valencia. No one seems sure where Gallego was buried.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fermin Spinola

From a promising novillero in the 1990s to a highly-regarded matador in the 2000s, Fermin Spinola has made the grade in the Mexican rings.

Spinola took the alternativa in San Luis Potosi in August of 2000 and int he ten years that followed he fought 179 corridas, cutting 272 ears and 10 tails. he also faced two bulls that received indultos or pardons and were set free.

Since then, he has continued as strong as ever.

Tijuana has been the scene of some of his best showings along the border in recent years, as well as Juarez, though he has offered triumphs in many interior plazas as well.

Like many great Mexican toreros from the past such as Calesero, Arruza, Procuna and Leal, Spinola has proven himself versed in the placing of the banderillas.  He has frequently tried the dangerous el quiebro method of placing the barbs, where he lets the bull come to him rather than running toward the animal.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Death Of Gabriel Espana

Details remain vague as far as what I have received, but retired matador Gabriel Espana , was kidnapped and killed this week in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico.

Espana was popular in Mexico in the 1980s, though never a true figura. One of his distinctions was serving as testigo in Mexico City when Raul Garcia confirmed the alternativa at the hands of Callao. All three men dressed in green and gold that afternoon by pure coincidence, leaving one critic to comment the plaza looked like it was being overrun by big blades of grass.

Farewell, Gabriel....

Cesar Giron

One of a family of 13 children, Cesar Giron and three matador brothers went on to become the epitome of Venezuelan bullfighting. Even today, long after his passing, the dynasty continues with new members of the Giron family carrying not the traditions of old in the ring.

Cesar Giron proved to not only be a major draw in South America, but a torero of maximum cartel in Mexico and Spain as well.  He was talented in all parts of the corrida, but especially the banderillas. He took Madrid, Sevilla and other major Spanish rings by storm, competing with the best that country had to offer and often surpassed them.

One of his greatest afternoons in a long career came in his native Venezuela, in Maracay, where he and the famed Luis Miguel Dominguin met in an intense mano a mano corrida. Both toreros left on the shoulders of the crowd, with Giron cutting a tail off the last animal of the day,

Mexico also became a stronghold for him. He proved to be a top drawing card in the border town of Juarez where, though he was starting to show hsi age at the time, he offered moments of brilliance expected from others much younger in age.

Mexico was an area where he also took some serious gorings, including a puntazo in the face that could have been much more devastating.

Truly, he was one of South America's most recognized and loved of toreros.

In 1971, he died not in a bullring, but in a  traffic accident. He was killed almost instantly when a piece of jagged metal from the mangled car entered into his head. Ironic and heartbreaking that a man who survievd so many corridas would leave this world in such a way.

His legend, however, lives on.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ernesto San Roman "El Queretano"

Ernesto San Roman "El Queretano" was an extremely short person in height, but long in courage. Coming from Queretaro, as his name suggests, he was recognize dearly on for having nerviness few could match. One of his trademarks was to take the bull on his knees, directly in front of the toril, while barely giving the bull room to pass him. At times he worked, but at other times it did not, as in Nogales in 1971, when he was tossed completely over the fence by a bull from Gustavo Alvarez.

Queretano received numerous gorings in his long career, butt he worst came in Acapulco in 1972, when a horn caught him in the intestines and stomach. This was the closest he came to dying and he missed several contracts while recovering.

The border towns were especially strong for him. Mexicali, Suarez and Tijuana were places where he did well,  but Nogales was the scene of some of his best showings. In November of 1976, he appeared alongside the American, Diego O" Bolger, cutting four ears and a tail for his labor
 Other plazas where he triumphed in one form or another include Queretaro, Los Mochis, Chihuahua,  San Miguel Allende and Zacatecas.

Upon retirement, he became a manager for a comedy team of midget toreros. Afterward, he assisted several relatives to enter the bullring, most notably his nephew, Oscar San Roman.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Antonio Lomelin

Antonio Lomelin was one of the most complex individuals to ever enter the Mexican bullrings. Talented, but often gored, he was one of the bravest of the brave in front of the bulls, but his life outside the plaza was plagued with scandal and brushes with the law. Hus life ended traumatically, neither by natural causes or on the horns of a bull, but in his home, where he was found dead with a gun in his hand.

Born in Acapulco, Lomelin first attracted attention as a novice due to his stunning work with the banderillas, and better than average skills with the muleta, which he of course improved upon as a matador de toros. A series of initial triumphs at the La Aurora ring in Mexico City in the early 1960s indicated great things to come.

As a novillero, however, he also started receiving some of the first of many gorings that would physically take a toll on him, In 1965, he was gored badly in the groin in Puebla and again in nearly the same part of the same leg in Monterrey a year later. In 1967, he took yet another  major goring in Plaza Mexico while placing banderillas. Yet when he managed to stay off the horns, he was busy amassing an army of fans and a string of triumphs bullrings large and small.

In 1967, Lomelin took the alternativa in Irapuato at the hands of Manuel Capetillo and Joselito Huerta, facing animals of Rancho Seco.

The ritual was confirmed in Plaza Mexico and in Madrid.

One of Lomelin's early triumphs as a matador and perhaps one pf the greatest showings of his life  wpuld  come in the border town of Nogales in 1968. Alternating with El Queretano and Ricardo Castro, he cut ears and tail of both bulls.

Though he would become a regular in Tijuana and score many triumphant afternoons there, he would also receive one of the worst gorings of his carer, when placing the sticks in a  1971 corrida. As he turned to escape the bull, he was hooked from behind and gored in the back, with damage to the liver. In spite of this, he not only lived, but returned to action in short order.

In 1975, he would receive an equally horrendous goring in the intestines while placing banderillas in Plaza Mexico.

This was to be a repeated story throughout his life. Goring after goring, but triumph after triumph in between. He excelled with capote, banderillas, muleta and sword.

Piedras Negras, Juarez, Aguascalientes, Guadalajara and Acapulco were just some scenery for outstanding showings, He also appeared regularly in Mexico City.

 Juarez was another city that embraced him, as noted. In the Plaza Monumental he offered many outstanding faenas, while sharing the bill with Cavazos, Gabriel Soto, Finito and other worthy alternates.

Sadly, he could not keep his personal demons under control. The less said about this the better. Then the tragic ending.


Horacio Casas

Aguascalientes has produced many fine bullfighters on foot. El Estudiante, Fabian Ruiz, the Sanchez brothers, Moro and the ill-fated Juan Gallo who died before he could reach fame might be a few of them.

There has been at least one rejoneador from Aguascalientes also. Jose Luis Rodriguez "Praga" fought on foot in  the 1970s and switched to horseback in the 1980s. 

Enter Horacio Casas on the present scene.

An exciting horseman with great skill, Casas has risen in the ranks over the past few years and has been seen regularly within the Mexican interior.

Keep an eye out for him and check him out if the opportunity arises.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Manolo Martinez

 Manolo Martinez was born in Monterrey and rocketed to fame after an outstanding series of novilladas in Guadalajara and other locations. He took the alternativa in his home town at the hands of Lorenzo Garza and Humberto Moro.

Spain, however, was a disaster for him and a land he could never really conquer. Though he managed triumphs int he smaller rings, he also received major gorings prior to the confirmation of his alternativa in Madrid. This much-hyped ritual at the hands of Viti and Linares was a complete disaster. His normally fluid capote and muleta work was flawed and his kills were horrendous. After this appearance, Martinez annoucned he was leaving Spain and would never be back.

In Mexico, he was regarded as one of the all-time greats. He appeared on the card Plaza Mexico countless times and cut awards, including incidents where he acted as lone matador, facing six bulls. Guadalajara, San Luis Potosi, Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Toluca and other interior rings were locations for multiple triumphs.

The Mexican border became the location of many grand performances as well. Tijuana, Mexicali, Juarez and Piedras Negras were plazas where hew as seen again and again with great results.

In 1970, Martinez gave two phenomenal showings in Juarez, In one he cut ears, tail and hoof and in another he left on shoulders where again, he acted as lone matador, killing six bulls himself. That same season in Tijuana, he cut ears and tail while competing with Victoriano Valencia and Arturo Ruiz Loredo.

May of 1974 saw Martinez gave one of the most glorious performances of his life, when returnign to Tijuana to compete with Ruiz Loredo and Curro Leal. Failing with his first bull and seeing Leal cut ears from his first animal stemmed an urge to triumph in Manolo, who cut ears and tail from his second.

During the years to follow, Martinez would retire once, make a comeback and then retire again. He was reportedly speaking of a third return to the rings when he suddenly felt sickly in 1998. It was discovered he had cirrhosis of the liver, a diabetic problem and a damaged heart. He naturally curtailed plans for a comeback and engaged in a bitter fight to stay alive. Sadly, he passed away in San Diego, California, while awaiting a heart transplant.

A gigantic statue depicting the matador in action stands in front of Plaza Mexico where he filled the ring so many times. His ashes are entombed within this monument.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gallito's Demise

The son and brother of bullfighters, Jose Gomez "Gallito" or "Joselito" or "Joselito El Gallo" was one of the greatest toreros of all time, by whatever name he was or is called. Complete and chariosmatcio in all aprts of the bullfight, he was so masterful he never received a major goring until the one that killed him. Many contend it was not the horn wound itself, but the shock at seeing himself so badly injured that caused fatal trauma to set in. Had he received such a wound in modern times he most likely would have survived.

On May 16, 1920 in the town of Talavera De La Reina, Gallito appeared with his brother -in-law, Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, facing bulls of the Vda. De Ortega herd. The animals offered nothing and even the great Gallito could only manage mild applause.

The fifth bull of the day, named Bailador, was a small toro and had a visual defect. It was for one unfortuante monent Gallito forgot or ignored this while working with the muleta and positioning the beast for the kill, that he was hooked in the abdomen. More liekly than not, the bull never even saw the target it horned.

Trying to rise on the sand, Gallito held back his escaping intestines with his hands. Giving a look of utter horror. it wa sevident he was stunned any bull could have done this to him. He screamed the name of a famous horn wound specialist as he was being carried to the infirmary and evidently never lost conscious from the pioint of being injrued until he died some twenty minutes later.

"Mother, I am smothering," he cried out to his deceased mother on the operating table as medics prepared to do what they could to treat the wound. It was at that point he passed into the history books.

The bullfight world found it hard to believe this master of the arena was dead. When told by phone that Gallito had died, Juan Belmonte thought he was the victim of a sick practical joke. It was only two calls later from others that reality set in.

"I cried as never before," Belmotne would confess to the press.

Gallito rests beneath an elabortae tomb in Sevilla's San Fernando cemetery.

A vest of red silk and gold spangles worn on the day of his death may be seen in the Museo Taurino in Madrid.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Rejoneo is the art of fighting bulls off horseback. Portugal has always dominated this style Tito Semedo, Moura, Telles, Duarte, Bastinhas, Rui Fernandes....the list goes on and on.

Whether he was one of the greatest or not might be arguable, but Zoio was one of the most beloved.

Not only did Zoio spend two decades excelling in Portuguese rings before an elaborate retirement in Lisboa, but made several appearances in Spain as well, including Las Ventas in Madrid.

Not onlt was Zoio an outstanding mounted torero, but also found himself big in many charitable and fraternal societies away from the ring. He was a high ranking member of the Masons in Portugal and the Scottish Rite.

Aside from performing himself, Zoio was instrumental in the training of many younger rejoneadores.

A g heart atatck took this man from us a while ago. He was only in his late 50s at the time of his death.

The legacy, however, lives on.

The Tragedy Of Zorro

El Zorro did not live long enough to become a legendary matador such as Manolete, Joselito, Cordobes, Orodnez or Dominguin. In fact, he did not live long enough to take the alternativa. During his short career, he seemed brave enough and was especially good with the sword, but hiow far he might have gone would be anyone's guess. He was just not given the time and luck ran out for him.

It was on May 25,1958 that a large crowd was on hand in Barcelona to see the bulls of Spanish matador, Pepe Luis Vazquez make their debut for the first time.  This, rather than the novilleros contracted to face them,  evidently proved to be the true drawing power of the cartel.

Zorro was his usuual brave self, though the animals clearly presented a challenge to him. He tried his best, mustrering applause with both capote and muelta, but did not manage to put together anything that would have been considered a major triumph. Thus, he gave up and aimed with the sword, which was after all, one of his strong points.

The actual thrust looked perfect at first, for Zorro embedded the blade to the hilt, but it was at that moment he was lifted off his feet and the crowd knew something was wrong.

He took a routine tossing. There was nothing spectacular about it and he was not hurled through the air like a gigantic bird. He did, however, get hooked in the abdomenal area, with the horn penetrating his intestines. He was lifted high off his feet and unceremoneously dropped. That was all there was to it.

Likewise, thoguh the wound appeared serious, it did not look to be fatal in the eyes of the fans. They did not see the terror in the faces of the medics when the unfortunate novillero reached the operating table and it became evident just how critically he had been hurt.

Zorro died half an hour after being hooked by his novillo. His injuries were so extensive, there was little to be done excpet watch him slip away in the infirmary.

Thus died a willing and ambitious torero who showed much potential. Instead of leaving in triumph on the shoulders of the crowd that day, he left on a stretcher with a sheet over his face.

Zorro went from the sands of the Barcelona bullring itno the history books.

His real anme was Rafael Martin Vinara and he was born in the province of Ciudad Real in 1931.

Tocame La Cancion De La Muerte

Una novela de toros y terror desde el ingles original, desde  Dale Pierce.

Ordenas desde

Bebe Chico

Jose Rodriguez "Bebe Chico" was born in Cordoba, Spain in 1870 and spent a career as a capable, but modest bullfigther..

Like many olden day toreros, Bebe Chico spent several seasons traveling in the cuadrilla of established matadores to learn the profession, before embarking on his own as a novillero.

Bebe Chico took the alternativa in Madrid in 1900 at the hands of Minuto. In this corrida, Minuto received a serious goring, which dampened the entire affair.

Bebe Chico contineud as a matador for varied seasons and decided to become a banderillero, working for other men. Among those he served was a fellow Cordoban known as Manolete, who was the father of the famed torero of the same nickname.

Though never a graet matador, he left his mark on the profession.

He died in 1922.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Meet Tin Tin

For a different look at the bullfight, meet Eztquial Vargas, otherwise known as Tin Tin.

In the style of Cantinflas, Don Gato and other comedic bullfighters, Tin Tin and his team have been making bullfight fans laugh for several seasons now.

From their Bogota base, they operate and take bookings that keep them busy everywhere. Each season sees them as regulars in South American plazas large and small.

As leader of the group, Tin Tin fights in clown make up, both on foot and in the unusual sideline of rejoneador, all with comedic factions.

Throw in an energetic group of midgets and one has a cocktail for hilarity in what is normally considered an extremely serious profession.

As of now, they continue to go strong.


Remembering Jesus Solorzano

Jesus Solorzano is the son of the late Mexican matador of the same name and while he now lives quietly in Mexico City, where he still fights an occasional calf or plays polo, he had quite a run from the early 1960s to the 1990s.

Solorzano made his professional debut both in traje corto and the suit of light sin the border town of Nogales and became a regular there throughout his career. Alternating alongside Leonardo Manzano, Robert Ryan, Mauro Liceaga, Antonio Del Olivar, El Sol, Armando Soares, Queretano, Paco Pallares and many others, he became a mainstay. He also formed a rivlary with the Portuguese, Fernando Dos Santos.

In September of 1971, Solorzano had his greatest day in Nogales and possibly his life where he cut two ears from his first bull and a hoof from his last.

Solorzano took the alternativa when in Spain in 1966, in the Barcelona bullring.

This torero had great showings in many other bullrings, includign Juarez, Tijuana, Mexicali, San Luis Potosi, Aguascalientes, Guadalajara and even Mexico City.

Mexico City was also the scene of his worst goring ever, when he took a horn in the intestines while working with the muleta.

In the latter years of his career, Solorzano was part of the empresa system in Cancun alongside Manolo "Arnmillita" and Jorge Avila.

Graceful with the capote, outstanding with the banderillas and an excellent muletero, Solrozano's only flaw was occaional weakness at the kill. When on with the sword, however, he was deadly and often cut the maximum of awards. At other times, such as in Juarez in May of 1974 and Nogales in May of 1976, he gave memorable showings, yet was reduced to empty-handed laps around the ring amid applause, where he otherwise would have cut ears and tail, due to misses at the supreme moment.

One of Solorzano's greatest final border showings came in Mexicali in 1992. Alternating with Alejandro & David Silveti, he faced an exceptionally brave bull that received an indulto or was set free due to its nobility.

Truly a class act all around, Jesus Solorzano reamins one of the most beloved of Mexican toreros to ever enter the ring.