June 1, 2007

Still Another Indulto in Tijuana

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

The granting of the life-sparing indulto in Tijuana has become commonplace. If a bull performs the way that a fighting bull is expected to perform, the crowd petitions for the indulto and the plaza judge always seems to grant it, in spite of having ordered the matador to make the kill.

Still another indulto was recorded last Sunday. As Bullfight World’s editor wasn’t present, he cannot comment about the legitimacy of the indulto—which is supposed to be an honor for the bull and its ranch, rather than for the matador Although, frontier crowds just can’t seem to grasp that seemingly less than complicated notion—so the afternoon is reviewed by Gary Sloan.

Good weather greeted the fans in the Hurtado Brothers’ “Beautiful Bullring By the Sea,” where Rodolfo Rodri-guez “El Pana”, José Mau-ricio, and Victor Mora faced a fine set of bulls from San Martin. Three of the bulls were particularly good.

With “Fernadillo” (535 kilos), the first of the day, El Pana did nothing with the cape. His faena was very ordinary, with a couple of decent moments on either side. But, poor sword work resulted in one warning aviso and denied any consideration of awards.

With his second bull, “Ratero” (470 kilos), El Pana did an instant replay of the lousy cape work that he had given to his first bull. Following the pics, he then placed two pair of banderillas in acceptable fashion. His faena wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great. After one sword thrust, on the second entry, El Pana was granted a turn of the ring.

José Mauricio opened with some terrific veronicas and a great media veronica to his first bull. “Gran Pillo” (485 kilos). He took the bull to the horse with chicuelinas, capped with a serpentina. After the pic, he offered a low, slow set of chicuelinas and a larga cordobesa and heard a loud ovation. His faena was complete in every way and was climaxed with a good sword placement, which was rewarded with a pair of ears.

But with his second bull, everything went downhill, rapidly. Mauricio was able to accomplish nothing with cape, muleta, or sword and heard a warning aviso. How amazing that any torero can give a sensational performance to his first bull and a completely disastrous one to his second! Why are the taurine gods so fickle?

Great veronicas opened the work of Victor Mora to his first bull, who followed up, after the pics, with a terrific set of chicuelinas. Apparently determined to outdo Mauricio’s first performance, he turned in a sensational faena that even included the rarely-executed arrucina. Following a good sword placement, he won an ear.

Victor opened with a kneeling farol to his second bull, then followed up with a great set of veronicas and the climaxing media veronica. After the pic, he offered a nice set of chicuelinas antiguas, crowned with a media veronica.

His faena was terrific to both sides. He petitioned the judge that the indulto be granted, but was ordered to kill the bull. After even more muletazos and a continuing petition for the indulto —ignoring the judge’s orders— the indulto was finally granted.

It was a fine afternoon, with an enthusiastic crowd, a good set of bulls, and some top quality toreo.

*****

Riquelme Receives Alternativa

In the wake of a political battle over Spanish novillero Paco Riquelme’s qualifications to receive his alternativa, such was granted, May 20, in Villahermosa. But, due to lousy bulls, the afternoon was a total failure, and Riquelme’s future as a full matador remains in doubt.

There are two competing matadors’ unions in Mexico, and the more powerful of them refused to grant Riq-uelme the right to his alternativa. The other union gave its blessings. So, whether or not Riquelme is allowed to continue to torear as a matador, and in which plazas sanctioned by which union or unions, remains a question mark for the new matador de toros who as a novillero in Mexico, performed in no first category ring and earned not even one ear which was the basis for his being denied the alternativa.

Generous Afternoon in Reynosa

Somebody seems to have stolen a few pages from Santa Claus’ calendar, for he delivered a sack full of trophies to the toreros who performed May 20, in Plaza Monumental de Reynosa.

Eloy Cavazos, celebrating 36 years as a full matador, won four ears and a tail. Juan Antonio Adame won two ears from his first bull and was applauded for his second. And, Arturo Macias was given an ovation for his first performance but returned to win ears and a tail from his second bull.

Ah, the judging in border bullrings! Ain’t it grand?

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