July 17, 1998
When we last discussed the situation, dear friends, the Memorial Day weekend corrida had been canceled, and the entire 1998 Tijuana bullfight season was in jeopardy of being suspended.
As you may recall, Plaza Judge Luis Pajón and Plaza Empresarios Pepe López Hurtado and Licenciado Portugal were preparing to shoot it out in the OK Corral, in a dispute involving bulls. Judge Pajón had disqualified the herd of bulls slated for the July 5 corrida, for they were under weight. Such was salt on the wound of the empresarios, for Pajón had, in the previous corrida, disqualified a pair of bulls and sent two others back to the corrals.
The empresarios reacted by canceling the biggest corrida date of the season, and added that the temporada would not resume, until Pajón were replaced.
Apparently, the situation was resolved only when Roberto Clemente, of the Mexico City-based Espectáculos Taurinos Mexicanos, paid a visit to the Tijuana mayor, who is responsible for appointing plaza judges.
Well, the latest word is that the season will resume, and the original corrida will now be celebrated, Aug. 2. Same bulls, same toreros. Same judge? Ah, there's a good question! Apparently, nobody will know the answer, until we see who steps into the judge's box.
But, one thing is certain. It will still be an afternoon of bienvenidos and adiós. The card will be headed by Eloy Cavazos, who will bestow the doctorate of matadorship on Tijuana novillero César Castañeda, while Manolo Arruza bids farewell, in his final Tijuana appearance. It should be a heck of an afternoon.
Well, this year's Feria de San Fermin, in Pamplona has passed into history as still another episode of the wildest, most uninhibited feria in Spain. It also appears that the Welch tourist who was caught and gored by a bull, after running through the streets and into the plaza, suffered severe wounds and irreparable brain damage.
It was a shame, but such incidents are to be expected when the streets are filled with running bulls and drunken celebrants. Yet, it's rather remarkable that, in all of the years that Pamplona's encierro has been held, only 13 people have been killed, one of them a North American. Of course, there have been plenty of gorings and other injuries.
In the late 50s, when this reporter was young and immortal, I ran, many times, in the Pamplona encierro. Would I do it, today! No way! There are too many people in the street, and they'll trample you, before you ever see a bull.
Which brings us to the case of the ersatz Pamplonada, held recently, in Mesquite, Nevada. That shallow imitation of the real thing was a travesty. Naturally, they used domestic stock. And, the runners, who paid for the opportunity to participate, were mostly extremist youths and aging men who, apparently suffering mid-life crises, wanted to experience the run, but without the danger of running in front of genuine killer stock. The promoter was, later, arrested, apparently for not obtaining a permit to hold the run.
The whole thing was a farce. But, it did reveal something about the hypocrisy of the animal rightists who campaigned to stop the run. This reporter, on the Internet, offered my support to the rightists. But, nobody from any of the organizations responded. Nevertheless, you should have seen the Internet posts from the animal rightists who hoped that the Welchman, gored in Pamplona, should die.
Supporting the so-called "rights" of animals is one thing. But, valuing the life of an animal over that of a human being merely demonstrates that their valus are misplace.
See you at the corrida!