January 11 – A Grim Anniversary for the Bullfighting World

Spain, Mexico, France, South America. They all have their dead.

Manolete, Granero, Joselito, Paquirri, Yiyo, Balderas and Caceres all died after achieving fame. Their lives and deaths from massive goring’s have caused them to live on in legend.

For every Granero or Manolete, however, there are the less known, who died before they could achieve stardom.

Esteban Garcia, Luis Vilma, Casarrubios, Angel Soria, Angel Castejon, Ernesto Pastor, Pepe Mata, Paco Pavon, Juan Gallo, Modesto Reyes, Rafael Carbonell, Joselillo, Regional, Alejandro Cabrera, Antonio Carpio, Rata, Lorenzo Lucena, Zorro, Pinini, Rata, Gavira, Indio, Ricardo Lopez, Miguel Freg,

Atarfeno, Elias Alvarez, Jerezano, Eduardo Liceaga, Malla,

Pedro Vela, Manolo Gomez, Morenito De Cuenca, Juan

Gallo, Antonio Ruiz, Valentin Conde and Felix Merino.

They were matadores or  novilleros all, who died before becoming stars. The list is much longer than the death roll call for major names.

On January 11, an unfortunate anniversary passed with scarcely a ripple in the bullfighting world. To recall what happened, one must go back to 1911 and a tragedy long forgotten by most.

The incident happened not in Spain, but in Mexico, where a novillero or novice using the alias of Senorito Mexicano was appearing.

Bullfighting in MadridBorn Miguel Regy, this torero took the alias of Senorito Mexicano, translated as The Little Mexican Gentleman.

Though capable and willing,  the man was far from great in his profession. He showed enough skill and had his share of triumphs in the smaller rings,  but was by no means considered a figura in the making. He had never made it to the major plazas. Thus, the contract to appear in San Pedro De Los Colonias, Torreon on January 11, 1911.   alongside Hose Gomez “Mestizo”  was an opportunity for him. The bulls from San Pedro  had other ideas.            .

Senorito Mexicano was out of his league, trying desperately with an animal he was too inexperienced to handle. Though he wanted to leave on the shoulders of  the crowd, he saw his chances fading rapidly.

Then disaster struck with the sixth and last bull of the day..

As he went in to kill, the novillero faltered and found himself trapped against the wooden fence surrounding the ring.

The bull drove a horn into his chest, severing the heart as it passed completely through the luckless torero, with the tip protruding from his back.

In this horrendous position, he was dragged across the boards, until he was either shaken free or banderilleros managed to pull his limp form off the animal’s head, depending upon which version is to be believed.

In any case, the torero was killed in the act and lifeless as he was carried from the ring. His eyes were wide open, but saw nothing and his face was as blank as a figure in a wax museum.

Critics of the bullfight saying they would go to one if they could see a man killed would have had their stomach full that day.

Over a century has  passed since the horrible incident in which Senorito Mexicano sacrificed himself for the crowd. Sadly, few even recognize his name, let alone know how he lost his life for his  art form.

Senorito Mexicano, like so many others, gave more to the bullfight than it gave back to him.