May 28, 1999


Bullfight World...
by Lyn Sherwood

Last Season's Triunfador Heads Sunday's Bullfight Card

One afternoon, last summer, in Plaza Monumental de Tijuana, Enrique Garza decided to try something unusual. It wasn't as if the particular stunt hadn't been done before. A century or more ago, some matadores began the third acts while sitting on chairs. Such antics may not qualify as the epitome of artistry, but they drive the crowd bananas. Especially those rowdy banana lovers along the Mexico/USA borders.



Enrique Garza gave his toro no other option than accept a free pass to inflict harm on the torero's body, which it did, making Garza pay for attempting to do a 'péndulo', while seated in a chair.

So, Garza may have impulsively said to himself, "It has been kind of a dull day; I think I'll try that chair-sitting bit." It didn't matter that he had never attempted it, had never, in fact, even practiced it de salón. But, at least in theory, it didn't seem too complicated. Just sit there, cite the bull, then pass it behind your back. No big deal. A seated péndulo. Of course, it does require the matador to show enough of the muleta to cause the bull to attack it, instead of him. Apparently, nobody revealed that juicy little tidbit to Enrique Garza. The result was a small goring in his caboose and a promise to never again try anything so silly. Good thinking, Enrique. You should do it more frequently. P.S. Garza was, eventually, proclaimed the triunfador of the 1998 season. It wasn't that he was that good; it's just that he cut more ears than did anybody else. Of course, he got more opportunities than did any other matador, most of whom performed far better on their worse days than Garza did on his best ones.

Who knows what wild hair may tickle Garza's fancy, this Sunday, when he performs in the downtown El Toreo de Tijuana plaza de toros?



The chair actually prevented Garza from receiving a more serious 'cornada.

Garza will alternate with Luis Fernando Sánchez, who a couple of weeks ago, won the Golden Ear trophy, during the San Marcos fair in Aguascalientes. He's a classical artist who is especially well known for his fluid cape work, which he never attempts while seated in a chair.

The third matador on the card is the exciting, up-and-coming matador Uriel Moreno "El Zapata," who won a very tough ear, a Sunday ago, in Plaza Monumental de Tijuana. Moreno is a very courageous torero who appeals to purists, as well as tourists. He is excellent with the cape, wonderful in placing banderillas, a dominator with the muleta, and a pretty good swordsman.

With a herd of bulls from the great ranch of Piedras Negras, this card should attract a large crowd. The action begins at 4:30. Tickets are on sale at the bullring.

*****

TORO TOPICS

A week after performing in Madrid, during which time, her nemesis, the sword, once again denied her success, Matadora Cristina Sánchez announced her retirement from bullfighting. During a press conference, last week, in Madrid, the 27-year-old torera said that gender prejudice was to blame for her quitting the rings. She hadn't been contracted for any of the major Spanish ferias.

Perhaps, she should have performed in Tijuana. Enrique Garza would have given her his chair.

*****

One of Spain's finest matadores, José Tomás, recorded a huge triumph during Madrid's Feria de San Isidro. Stealing the steam from his alternates, César Rincón and Rivera Ordoñez, Tomás cut one ear from each of his bulls and left on shoulders through the Puerta Grande. Cutting an ear in Madrid is a very big deal. Cutting an ear from each of one's bull is, indeed, rare.

*****

Internationally-recognized taurine journalist Tim Hardman has reported that English "matador" Frank Evans recently celebrated his "forty something" birthday in Madrid. Evans had, according to reports, been fighting since 1964, and took his alternativa in Chillon, southwest of Madrid. Has anybody ever heard of this guy? Has anybody ever heard of Chillon?

*****

Since the early 60s, this reporter had driven to the Tijuana bullfights, putting up with long waits to get across the border. For the May 16 corrida, I and some friends tried something different. After taking the U.S. exit and hanging a right, we parked our car, all day for $6. For another dollar, a shuttle bus took us to downtown Tijuana, where for $4 round trip, we took the "Big Red" Mexicoach bus, right to Plaza Monumental. Fifteen minutes after the corrida, we reboarded the bus and did the whole thing in reverse. Our bus host, Carlo, kept things humming. For more information about this hassleless (is that a word?) way to go to the bullfights, call (619) 428-9517 in San Ysidro.

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