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.
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
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
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
13, 2012 column
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