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  • Texas | Columns | "It's All Trew"

    Buffalo, bull fight a dud

    by Delbert Trew
    Delbert Trew

    A story published by “The Voices of the Sandhills” in Tyron, Neb., in 2002 relates a contest held in 1907 between a Mexican fighting bull and a buffalo bull at a bullfighting arena in Juarez, Mexico.

    Scotty Phillip, the man heralded for saving the buffalo species from extinction, heard a boast that his cherished buffalo would not stand a chance against a Mexican fighting bull in a battle. Phillip rose to the challenge stating, “A Mexican fighting bull would stand about as much chance against a buffalo as a snowball in hell.”

    Smelling profit, gamblers collected a pot to finance the venture and dreamed of an even larger pot of gold from betting on the outcome. An 8-year-old and a 4-year-old buffalo bull were selected from Phillip’s herd, placed in a reinforced cattle car and shipped by rail to a bullfighting arena in Juarez.

    The journey was long and well promoted at every town along the way. The profiteers followed along, taking bets. The bullfighting patrons were aghast at the thought a mere American buffalo might challenge their magnificent Mexican fighting beasts on their own ground. The arena was a complete standing-room-only sellout.

    The older buffalo bull entered the ring first, stared at the screaming crowd, and, wondering why he had been brought all this way and feeling tired, laid down in the dirt and promptly went to sleep.

    The prized Mexican bull was let into the ring with tail up, horns glistening, snorting and blowing snot at anything that moved. Amid the crowd’s roar he finally saw the sleeping shaggy pile of hair lying in his arena. When he circled the apparition it arose and faced him. He bellowed his rage, lowered his horns and charged full speed.

    The impact against the hard, thick, shaggy head of the buffalo dropped him to his knees. He arose, decided on a different attack strategy and charged. Experience had taught him other bulls would spin on their hind legs, and he could sink his horns into their sides. Instead, the buffalo, who moved more like a horse than a bull, spun on his front legs and met the bull head-on. The bull dropped to his knees again, somewhat addled.

    The crowd fell silent as they saw their bull ineffective. Another bull was let into the arena with the same results. A total of four bulls were entered into the ring, finally ending with the now enraged buffalo chasing them around the arena. In a final effort to save the day, a matador with a cape entered to fight the buffalo. The old bull thought the matador had a feed sack in his hands and kept sniffing around for feed.

    With the crowd screaming “gyp” the fight was canceled, admission fees returned and the entire promotion became a fiasco. However, the gamblers made a killing on bets and there was a little tequila sold among the participants.


    © Delbert Trew -
    June 13, 2012 column
    More "It's All Trew"
    Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by email at trewblue @centramedia.net.
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