Saturday, January 24, 2015

Juan Belmonte In Nogales

Everyone knows of Juan Belmonte. He took over 50 gorings in his long career. He was still fighting bulls and making love when elderly, but when his doctor forbade him to do either, he decided to shoot himself. They know of his constant triumphs in Sevilla, Madrid, Nimes and beyond. They know of his rivalry with Joselito and his suicidal style, in the ring.

What many do not know of is the time when Belmonte came to the border town of Nogales. A group of local businessmen on both sides of the border decided to promote the mano a mano of the new century in 1917, when Gaona was in his glory and Belmonte was taking Mexico by storm.

Since Nogales had no bullring at the time, the businessmen built one out of wood in hasty order.  The plaza de toros was established and filled as the two stars entered into action.

The contest of the decade did not transpire, for with his opening passes, Belmonte took a large goring in the leg that could have proven fatal.

This left Gaona or face all four bulls himself, which he did in grand form and he left on the shoulders of the crowd. Belmonte, however,  missed several contracts while recovering from the massive wound, leaving the bullfight far from the glorious competitive corrida everyone had envisioned.

Fernando Dos Santos Book Ready

Fernando Dos Santos in Nogales is finally ready for $15 at

The book covers the appearances of the controversial Portuguese matador de toros who is now a prominent promoter and bull breeder, from 1969 to 1972 in the border town of Nogales, Mexico.  In 7 corridas, all documented in great detail, in this ring, Dos Santos cut we ears, 2 tails, faced a bull that received an indulto giving him symbolic ears, tail and hoof, plus received one very serious goring in the neck.

Other toreros dealt with at length include his alternates, Jesus Sol√≥rzano, Antonio Lomelin, Joel Tellez "El Silverio" and  Mauro Liceaga. Sol√≥rzano and Dos Santos appeared four times together in Nogales.

An interesting history of the Nogales plaza de toros is also offered, with Carlos Arruza, Paco Pallares, Fabian Ruiz, Cordobes, Queretano, Curro Rivera, Chilolin, Chilolo, Carlos Gonzalez, John Fulton, Diego O' Bolger, Luis Briones, Manolo Arruza, Leonardo Manzano, Arturo Ruiz Loredo,  Pepe Luis Vazquez, Jaime Bravo, Armando Soares, Carlos Malaga "El Sol",  Antonio Velazquez, the Armillitas, Julio Garza, Jose Ramon Tirado and others dealt with at length or in passing.

An interesting read about a forgotten era and overlooked bullring.

Sombrerete This Feb. 2.

There will be an interesting corrida de toros in Sombrerete this February 2.

Rejoneadora Monica Serrano will share the cartel with Arturo Sandivar and Pascual Javier.

Bulls from Garfias.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Remembering Julio Robles

This marks the 14th anniversary of the death of ill-fated Spanish matador, Julio Robles, one of the most versatile and perhaps underrated of modern toreros.

Robles was not killed by a bull, essentially, but he was placed in a  wheelchair and partially paralyzed after a cojida that broke his back. Being wheelchair bound and the conditions surrounding this certainly did, however, contributed to an early death. The bulls did not literally kill him, but their doings put him in the situation that ultimately took its toll.

Robles was perhaps one of the most beloved of matadores in the 1980s.

Meet Dale Pierce In Dover In February

Meet author Dale Pierce at the Dover Library in Dover, Ohio, the second Thursday in February, 7-8 pm for a lecture and book signing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


The feria in Moreleon, Mexico, commences this week. Among toreros signed for corridas are Diego Silveti, Payo and the Spaniard, Juan Jose Padilla.


I. Gomez "Mayito" is a veteran matador. His stronghold has always been Tijuana, as the place of his birth and where he has his biggest following. He has many successful showings in the old El Toreo before it was torn down and in the Plaza Monumental. In 1990, he even won the Golden Sword in a competitive corrida there. He is still going strong in spite of aging.

Tijuana has seen other  native matadors before and since. Jesus Peralta, Rogelio Leduc, Pepe Hillo (the current Mexican, not the Spaniard killed in 1801) and Leonardo Manzano. Few, however, can come close to compare with Mayito in the charisma department.

He excelled as a novillero in Tijuana, though he did have one bizarre mishap during his career when in the midst of a molinete de rodillas, he somehow snagged his leg on the tip of a banderillas that had fallen out of the bull and was lying on the sand. He went to the infirmary to have the prong removed and returned to his next bull with a heavy bandage on, but still good to go.

One of his best Tijuana afternoons, though eh cut no ears, came in 1990 in a corrida alongside Manolo Arruza and L.F. Sanchez, facing bulls of La Mision. With his first bull he was daring with the capote, outstanding with the banderillas and was giving a faena that had the crow din an uproar, when he was tossed and took a puntazo in the arm. He returned to the bull, but had problems with the sword and lost the ears, but up to that point his presentation had really worked up the crowd. He took a vuelta before going to the infirmary for treatment.

With his second bull he opened with a series of frightening faroles de rodillas , placed three spectacular pairs of banderillas and gave a brilliant faena , but again lost ears due to problems with the sword.

Aside from the weak kills, his showings that day were possibly the best he ever offered in Tijuana.

Naturally, Mayito took the alternativa in Tijuana. Over the years, he appeared with some of the best in the Mexican bullfight. Alejandro Del Olivar, Minuto, Arruza, Herros, Portillo. The list goes on.
He also played himself in a suspense film about bandits planning to steal the bullring cash box at the Plaza Monumental, with his bullfight clips being shown in the movie.

Tijuana is of course not the only bullring Mayito has triumphed in. far from it. It is just that Tijuana is and always will be his fortress.

The banderillas have always been a main specialty for Mayito, especially the cortos.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Bullfight As Erotica

There has been some controversy over the recent D.P. Adamov book, The Long Day of revenge, which while a great bullfight tale on one hand, is ripe with erotica offensive to some. Information on the book may be found at and the author's Blog page is at

Criticism oft he book may be overdoing it when knocking the weird S/M features and sex scenes. granted, they are plentiful, but it is not like a first here.

Anyone recall the films from Spain, Matador and Talk To Her? Both were saturated in sexual innuendos. I mean the initial shock scene in the opening of Matador, with Diego masturbating to horror films rather than porn sticks out like, well....

In any case, these films offended plenty and the offense helped the producers make money. Everyone bitched about them, but subsequently wanted to see them.  

Going back even further in the 1970s, Charro Gomez successfully sued a porno producer who sliced  in scenes from his faenas in Tijuana, in use for a pron film.

Then we have the "dirty books tore" books of the 19690s and 1950s such as Corrida Of Sin, Matador Of Shame, Manana, El Cordobes and the worst oft he worst, La Tarantula, in which the author sued the bullfight as a sub theme while nothing about it made sense and even made the glowing error of assuming tarantulas were poisonous when they were not.

Going back more still, one could even contend Blood & Sand to be erotic for its time. The themes of infidelity and the moral lessons within were pretty taboo in the era of Vicente Blasco Ibanez and they had not improved much with the attitudes when the films came out. 

But, sex and controversy makes for sales.


The bullfight world has seen God knows how many novilleros come and go, but no one can deny the   are the hope for the future. Sometimes, they live up tot heir potential and become great matadores. Others die before taking the alternativa, such as the ill-fated Mexican, Esteban Garcia or the Spaniard, Angel Soria. Some still, never become full matadores  de toros, but coast as novilleros and do have long careers. One can never tell 100 percent what the future will hold for sure, but sometimes it can be predicted with relative accuracy. At other times, not so much, for fate can be tricky.

Ignacio Olmos is a promising novillero in Spain right now, still new at his profession, but with considerable style and artistic mastery that  could be developed with experiences, good management and  some luck.

This new torero from Toledo, Spain could become someone to really keep an eye on if he continues on his existing path.

Remember, you read it here first.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Strange Death Of Gil Chacon

The bullfight world has seen some strange things happen, surrounding both life and death. One of the strangest was the demise of the ill-fated novillero, Gil Chacon.

Chacon was a torero of modest ability, reputably capable, but not spectacular in the ring and by no means a pending fenomeno. He owes his fame more to the uncanny way in which he died, as opposed to how he lived or whatever he accomplished in the ring.

In 1935, in the province of Malaga, he died from injuries received in the ring, but not from a goring.  As he attempted to get away from his novillo during a difficult moment in the faena,  he was slightly tossed and jarred, but managed to impale himself on his own sword.

The bizarre death due to blood loss was somewhat similar tot hat of a matador de toros many decades ago, by the name of Jose De Los Santos, who likewsie managed to put his own sword through his leg as he attempted to jump the fence to escape hsi toro, with loss of blood  being the culprit for his  death.

Tocame La Cancion De La Muerte

Tocame la Cancion De Le Muerte,  una novella en espanol desde el ingles original, de la corrida de toros y terror sobrenatural.

Libro y libro electronico desde

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bulls Of Heriberto Rodriguez .

The ranch of Heriberto Rodriguez was founded in 1926 in Hidalgo, Mexico, and gained fame for producing brave, but extremely difficult animals that would quickly gore a man not experienced enough of face them.

Various toreros who saw great afternoons with these animals included Calesero, Pepe Luis Vazquez (Mexican), Canitas, Lorenzo Garza, Edmundo Zepeda Joel Tellez "Silverio",  David Liceaga, Jesus Solorzano and Lorenzo Garza.

In July of 1970, Fernando Dos Santos of Portugal had a great afternoon with these animals in Nogales. With his first bull,  he lost a possible tail due to faulty sword work and won only a  vuelta. With his second, an exceptionally  brave bull named Gaditano, he gave the faena of a lifetime, in  spite of one severe tossing and ended up leaving on shoulders of the crowd. The bull was granted an indulto and not killed in the ring. An account of this is to appear in the upcoming book, Fernando Dos Santos in Nogales.

The Heriberto Rodriguez ranch gained infamy int he 1940s when an example of the herd killed the rising novillero, Felix Guzman.

The fatal goring took place in Mexico City when Guzman was caught in the leg while working with the muleta. Rather than going to  the infirmary, the torero insisted on caping the bull further, killing it and taking a vuelta first. It was found that the wound was far more serious than anticipated with rpecuiosu time being lost by the novillero's actions. He died in the hospital shortly afterward.

Bulls Of Santo Domingo

Started by the Labastida family in 1926, just after the Mexican Revolution and its horrors finally faded from view, Santo Domingo has long been a favorite of modern and earlier Mexican toreros. The ranch is located in San Luis Potosi. While so much attention is placed on the torero any more, it is time to make mention of the other very important protagonist int he bullfight and that being the brave bull.

Many toreros have had great afternoons with animals oft his breed. Toreros who triumphed with these noble creatures for a partner include include Pepe Luis Vazquez (Mexican), Gabriel Soto, Alfredo Leal, El Ranchero, Juan Silveti, Eloy Cavazos, Andres Blando, Carnicerito, David Liceaga, Manuel Capetillo and Luis Procuna.

Antonio Lomelin had one of the greatest afternoon of his life with an animal from Santo Domingo, where he gave a tremendous faena and cut ears and tail in Nogales.  On this cold and gloomy day, the matador from Acapulco rose to the opportunity this toro de bandera offered and excelled in all phases of the lidea. capote, banderillas, muleta and sword were perfect, with the bull aiding him all the way.  

Paco Camino likewise gave a glorious faena to one of these animals during a Mexican tour. The Spaniard won ears from his brave beast.

A bull from Santo Domingo also came close to killing the Portuguese matador de toros, Fernando Dos  Santos, when after delivering a number of tossings without consequence, it bowled the man over and delivered a goring in the neck. The horn missed the jugular and a fatal blow by just fractions.

Later, Dos Santos would take great pride in showing off the scar on his neck to any aficionado who would look, as if to emphasize his brush with disaster, compliments of the horns of a Santo Domingo.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review: Ignacio Sanchez Mejias

Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, released in 1998 by Alienza Publishing in Madrid, written by Andres Amoros, is perhaps the most effective and conclusive book ever written in any language about this confusing, intellectual torero.

The book covers the career of Sanchez Mejias, from his greatness with the banderillas to his weakness with the kill. It deals with his activities outside the ring, associating with his poetic friends and his marrying into the "Gallo" family of toreros. A complete and fascinating picture of this  complex man is offered in plain terms.

The book naturally deals with his tragic death in Manzanares as well. Old and out of shape, he decided to take risks that were uncalled for, including opening a faena on his knees, sitting on the stirrup running around the ring. After a set of passes, he should have risen to work on foot, but carried away, he slid further down the stirrup and attempted more passes. The bull simply veered into him and gored him in the leg. Had the goring taken place in modern times, he would most likely have survived, but in an era before the usage of penicillin, infection was common. An infection developed within the matador, which turned to gangrene and spelled his doom.

Sanchez Mejias has been dealt with in a number of earlier books and of course in the famed Lorca poem. This, book, however, remains arguably one of the best profiles of the deceased matador.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Zotoluco's Triumphant Year

Though he is considered an aging veteran in his last years of activity, Zotoluco proved he has lost nothing during the 2014 season. With performances as valiant as ever, he convinced the critics and public he was still able to come on strong.

In 2014, Zotoluco fought in 21 corridas in Mexico, missing some due to a grave hand injury late in the Mexican season.

The veteran appeared in San Luis Potosi, Texcoco, Aguascalientes and Pachuca, as well as other major rings. This included an event in Plaza Mexico as lone matador, duplicating the feat few others have ever done, such as Eloy Cavazos, Manuel Capetillo, Armillita and Manolo Martinez.

If anyone was foolish enough to claim his abilities were diminishing, Zotoluco clearly silenced them this year.

Diego Silveti's Triumphant Season

Diego Silveti, the son of the late David Silveti and nephew to retired great, Alejandro Silveti, put out an extremely successful season, confirming the hopes the aficion has had for him.

Silveti appeared in Mexico 28 times, cutting a total of 21 ears. He appeared in Mexico City again, as well as many other plazas large and small.

Silveti likewise had several corridas in France and Spain in 2014, including important corridas in Madrid and Sevilla.

The matador is presently campaigning  in South America for their taurine season.

So once again, the son of David Silveti has proven himself and will hopefully continue to do so in the season ahead.  He is fast becoming a rising star.

Antonio Mendoza. A Mexican Revelation

In 2014, several new matadors de toros and novillos started rising to prominence. Whether they will live up to the expectations of the crowd and critics will remain to be seen.

Among the hopefuls is a relative newcomer from Mexico City by the name of Antonio Mendoza.

With a strong of triumphs in the smaller towns,Mendoza has also had triumphs in major bullrings such a Guadalajara and Aguascalientes.  He has depicted not only a supernatural degree of timing and artistry, but has also been better than average with the kill, which always seems to be a weak spot when novilleros are concerned.  He has become a torero people are already keeping their eyes upon.

Hopefully, this new matador de novillos will not yield to political pressure and allow himself to take the alternativa prematurely. He has already shown great skill, but still needs to face a number of different bulls, with a number of different conditions before a variety of audiences to truly learn to temper himself. With that aside, he is someone to really anticipate great things from in 2015 and beyond.