May 21, 2004

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

Venezuelan Cuts Undeserved Ear in Reynosa Bullfight

If you’ve ever wondered what “bad luck” is, you should ask Mexican Matador Hector de Granada. He had more than his share of it, last Sunday, in Plaza Monumental de Reynosa.

It was an afternoon that presented every type of bullfighting known to modern aficionados. A young rejo-neador, forcados, and two matadores, facing a sextet of bulls from the ranch of Santa Fe del Campo. The bulls announced weights were a joke, and the shaving of their horns was not only illegal, but poorly done.

The rejoneador, 19-year-old Jorge Hernandez III, performed beautifully, astride his magnificent horses. The kid is green, but he has good schooling, lots of talent, a bright personality, and an excellent future. But, bad luck at the supreme moment cost him any consideration for ears. He was especially good at placing banderillas “a la violina”.

But, after he had placed rejones and banderillas in good fashion to each of his bulls, the forcados, a group of crazies who wrestle the bull to a standstill, in Portuguese fashion, entered to demonstrate their insanity. But, each time, they left the bull in a defensive position, which made it difficult for Hernandez to place the rejon of death.

De Granada was supposed to face the second and fourth bulls of the day, but a screwup in the corrals resulted in his switching places with Venezuelan matador Leonardo Rivera.

When, in his book, The Swords of Spain, John Daly wrote, “A beautiful bullfight is never scary, and a scary bullfight is seldom beautiful”, he must have had Rivera in mind. With each of his bulls, Rivera played the role of a lunatic, working kamikaze style, thrilling most of the crowd, but —aside from some good placements of banderillas— accomplishing little of taurine value. His work was a travesty, and two fine bulls were wasted. He didn’t torear; he just gave passes, but the crowd didn’t know the difference. He was applauded for his first, but managed to resort to undignified begging of the plaza judge to award an ear for his second performance. The judge finally relented, although there was very little crowd petition. The ear was totally undeserved. Rivera killed each with disgracefully low sword placements. If this is the type of bullfighting that’s popular in Venezuela, remind me to stay away from Venezuelan bullfights.

The best torero of the day, yet the least appreciated by the crowd, was Hector de Gran-ada. Of the six bulls, he received the only difficult ones. He gave the proper technical performance to each, and killed with perfect swords, while the crowd sat on its hands, oblivious to the dignity and honesty of his work. What a shame!

The next bullfight in Reynosa is scheduled for July 4 and will feature Mexico’s number one matador, “El Zotoluco”, alternating with Miguelito “Armillita Chico”—who is in his final tour before retirement—and Mexican Arturo Manzur. The bull ranch was not announced.

*****

In Puebla, Mexico, Matador Uriel Moreno “El Zapata”, received two dangerous gorings, May 14. Both gorings were in the scrotum; one of them completely exposed the left testicle. The gorings, one of 10 centimeters and the other of 12, did great damage to Zapata’s left leg. The matador will not be able to perform, May 22, in Puebla.

*****

In Ceiba Playa, Campeche, this past May 17, part of the 5,000-capacity bamboo plaza collapsed, causing numerous injuries to spectators. None of the injuries was considered grave.

On the card with rejoneador El Caporal and matadores Fernandez Madera and Humberto Flores.

*****

In a taurine festival, celebrated in Zacatecas, Mexico, bulls of Sergio Rojas were presented. Federico Pizarro won two ears; Mariano Ramos was applauded; Jorge Carmona cut one ear; Alberto Huerta received two ears; Fabian Barba heard an aviso; and Paco Campos earned a pair of ears.

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