June 2, 2000
by Lyn Sherwood
Uriel Moreno "El Zapata," the matador who represents one of the last vestiges of hope for the current época taurina in Mexico, was the triunfador absoluto in last Sunday's corrida de toros in the downtown El Toreo plaza de toros.
A herd from Begoña was presented to Rafael Ortega, El Zapata, and César Castañeda. One of the animals was substituted by a poorly-presented animal from Santo Domingo.
Ortega, determined to triumph, following a series of poor afternoon in Tijuana, was applauded for his performances to both of his bulls. He made a gift bull, for which he was again, applauded.
El Zapata was applauded for his first performance, but returned to offer an excellent lidia to his second, for which he was granted the only ears of the afternoon.
Castañeda, the Tijuanense who, to date, has not demonstrated great potential for the future, was applauded for his performance and given total silence for his second, the last of the day.
Even the very experienced matadores sometimes find themselves in over their heads. During the second corrida of the annual Feria del Caballo, in Jerez de La Frontera, Curro Romero alternated with Rafael de Paula and Juan Serrano "Finito de Córdoba." There were four bulls from Juan Pedro Domecq and two from Sánchez Rojas. All of the animals were well presented.
But, Rafael de Paula received three advisors on each of his bulls. He was so disgusted with himself, he tore the pigtail from the back of his head and threw it to the ground.
On that same day, Curro Romero, who to the Spaniards and especially the Andalu-cianos, sits at the right hand of the God of Bullfighting, turned in a spectacular performance, winning ears and tail from his second bull. And, Finito de Córdoba won an ear from each of his bulls.
Julian López "El Juli" confirmed his alternativa in Madrid's Plaza de Las Ventas, two weeks ago, but a poorly-presented herd of bulls failed to allow any of the matadores, including Rivera Ordoñez and Enrique Ponce, on the card to accomplish anything. They were heavy bulls, one weighing over 700 kilos, but were sluggish and lacked spirit.
Aficionados Prácticos, take note. "The first of a planned annual festival, presented by the newly-formed Asociación Internacional de Aficionados Prácticos, will be held in early October, in Reynosa, Tamau-lipas. Three days of competition among some of the finest amateur toreros of California, Mexico, Spain, and even Great Britain, will be featured. Novillos from some of the most respected ganaderías in that area of Mexico will be presented, and trophies will be awarded for Best Faena, Best Verónicas. Best Sword placement, and Gran Triunfador. There will also be a Dia de Los Debutantes, designed to allow newcomers to get their first experience in the area. The debutantes will face vacas of brave blood, which they will kill, symbolically. Those vacas will then be used the next morning in a pachanga in which everybody who wants to fight will be afforded the opportunity to do so.
At this point, the young bulls for the prácticos will cost $1,000 (dólares) each. There will also be dues to be paid to be part of the new Asociación. For all of the information, write to: Fred Renk, P.O. Box 55, Santa Elena, Texas, 78591.
Courtesy of Gene Mathews. Band leader Artie Shaw once said, "The mass American public is, by and large, musically illiterate, and, as is the case with any uneducated group, when confronted by a highly specialized, technically different form of activity, there is always the engrossment with surface detail, rather than intrinsic merit."
Sounds like Artie Shaw might have made a good aficionado taurino!