Not long to go ...
The history of the running of the bulls is the story of the runners, but also of the many thousands of bulls who have shared the bill all down the years along with those runners who risked their lives by running in front of their horns. Among all of these bulls, some more than others deserve to be remembered by posterity because of the fatalities they caused or because they created memorable moments of panic and fright.
Just as some bulls are remembered for what they did to famous bullfighters, like "Islero" (killed Manolete in 1947), "Bailaor" (took the life of Joselito in 1920) or "Granadino" (gored Ignacio Sánchez Mejías to death in 1934), names of some of the bulls in the Pamplona running of the bulls have passed down into history.
Perhaps "Antioquio" would be one of the most famous of all. This animal came from the Guardiola Fantoni bull breeder and it stepped into fame on the 13th of July, 1980 after causing the death of two runners on the same morning. José Antonio Sánchez, was gored first as he ran up the slope of Santo Domingo and was about to enter the stretch at the City Hall when he was caught by the bull. The second runner, Vicente Risco, was gored by the same bull in the bullring just at the end of the run where he received several fatal gorings.
However, this was not the only time that the same bull killed two runners on the same morning. In 1947, when the running of the bulls was still being captured in black and white photos, a bull from the Antonio Urquijo breeder, by the name of "Semillero" was the protagonist of a similar occurrence. It happened on the10th of July. Casimiro Heredia, was the first runner to receive a fatal goring from this bull in Estafeta Street. "Semillero" then continued its run and some meters further on, at the entrance to the bullring he caught and gored Joaquín Zabalza to death.
If we refer to some other names linked to tragedy we can't forget "Capuchino". The name of this bull from the Jandilla bull-breed, will go down in history as the bull that took the life of twenty-seven year-old Daniel Jimeno Romero from Alcalá de Henares, at the Telefónica stretch of the course on the fateful date of the 10th of July, 2009. The image of the fatality was caught on camera and first published on Sanfermin.com thanks to the skill of Pablo Roa.
The same year another bull left his mark on the whole stretch of the run. This was one of the Miura bulls called "Ermitaño" and with his 575 kilos (more than half a ton) he charged at everything he saw along the route. At the corner of Mercaderes he slipped up and he was just about to gore the runner from Miami, Rick Música dressed in his white jacket which he puts on every time the Miura bulls run. At Telefónica the bull charged the fencing several times tossing the photographer for Sanfermin.com, Victoriano Izquierdo and giving a scare to another one, Javier Ibáñez. However, "Ermitaño" will be remembered above all for the tremendous tossing he gave Pello Torreblanca a 44 year-old man from Pamplona. It was a miracle that his life was saved for the bull was tossing him for over half a minute in an agonizingly sequence of tosses.
The recent stories of Sanfermin runnings also remind us of "Universal". This bull was responsible for 6 of the 7 gorings which took place on the 12th of july, 2007 with bulls from the Marques de Domecq breed. At the first stretch in Santo Domingo, this bull charged and gored a Polish man, Thomas Golabek. A few meters further on as the bull entered in front of City Hall, it severely gored a Pamplona man, José Amador Jiménez. Here too, it the bull caught two American brothers, Lawrence and Michael Lenahan, ages 23 and 26 years old, respectively. But the most spectacular charge was made at the beginning of Estafeta where a Mexican boy, Rafael Estrada , received a goring to his stomach and another to his lower abdomen. "Universal" had taken him from a doorway with a toss that left him in the middle of the street and it was a danger for all the runners there. Finally, at the Telefónica stretch, the enraged bull caught a Norwegian man, Cristofer Neiff, and gored him in his knee.
This is not the only bull to have gored six people in the run. In 1988, "Doloroso II" from the Cebada Gago breed also managed to gore six different people along the route. Weighting 510 kilos (just over half a ton), Doloroso 11 caught two Pamplona men in Santo Domingo, Arturo Bueno, aged 42, and Jesus Irigoyen aged 32. After first goring Arturo Bueno at the top of the slope in Santo Domingo the bull turned back and charged Irigoyen in front of the old market place. Then the bull ran back down towards the pens from which it had earlier come out. The bell-oxen were used to try to bring it back on the course but the bull hesitated for some minutes. The whole running of the bulls that day took eight minutes and only one bull entered the bullring with the initial bell-oxen. The run ended with a total of 33 people injured. When "Doloroso II" started to run again he caught four more runners in Estafeta and so justified his name ("Doloroso II"- "Painful II"). Francisco Garcia from Pontevedra, 18 years old, Mikel Zabalza and Felix Gonzalez from Pamplona, respectively 18 and 23 years old and a young man from New Zealand, Ian Gordon all got a goring from this bull. Many of the runners consider that day as the most dangerous run ever to take place.
Contrary to what you might expect, the most dangerous bull in the running of the bulls is not necessarily the most dangerous in the bullring. A good example is "Castellano", a bull from the Torrestrella breed, which charged and mortally wounded the American, Mathew Peter Tassio in 1995 in what has been the most recent fatality to take place in the running of the bulls. This bull went on in the afternoon to fight in the bullring and it was awarded the prize, Trofeo Carriquiri, for being the best bull of the whole festival that year.
Beside the list of some of the bulls that have achieved fame for their gorings ("Castillero", "Silletero", "Navarrico", "Palmello" o "Reprochado" are just some of the names), other bulls are remembered for other reasons. In 1986, for example, on the last day of the festival that year, the Miura bulls made a new record for their total weight . "Espejito", "Hojuelo", "Soltero", "Damero" and "Diamantero" were the names of the five bulls that ran that morning (when being unloaded some days previously one of these bulls had gored the sixth bull of the pack and so, only five bulls ran that day) All five stood out for their enormous size and weight, all of them being over 600 kilos in weight, something highly unusual among a pack of six bulls. In spite of their enormous weight there were no gorings in that day's run.
One of the bulls that did commit one of the most horrifying gorings went by the name of "Entrometido", from the Guardiola Fantoni bull breeder. One the second day of the running in 1991 a young Swedish man, Torly Urban, was the unfortunate target of this bull. As this runner tried to escape by climbing over the fencing. he was caught on the horns of the bull and remained an interminable ten long seconds stuck on the horns and the runner suffered many wounds while also leaving some frightening images in the minds of all who witnessed the event. That same day, the Norwegian girl, Anne Karlin Ruan became the first ever woman to suffer an injury inside the course.
Another bull that created moments of mayhem was "Portentoso" (Santiago Domecq breed), on the 9th of July, 2002. The animal remained more than twelve minutes on the course, where he turned back several times along the length of the course and created great panic among the runners. Finally the run ended with five runners gored and several others with injuries from contusions, most of them due to this bull.
Some years earlier in 1997, another bull was on the point of causing a real butchery at the entrance to the bullring.This was "Roedor" (María Luisa Domínguez breeder).The animal fell behind the rest of the pack at the end of Estafeta Street and was led along the rest of the course with difficulty by the runners. Just before entering the bullring the animal turned back to the bewilderment of those runners coming behind it. He charged the group of runners but, by some miracle, he didn't wound any of them. The exit door had already been closed and the bull continued to charge the runners in the confined space. Great confusion arose in the darkened entrance area and out of sight of the public in the ring. Finally, "Roedor" was lead towards the ring and into the pens. Only one goring took place but the mayhem of the scene will long be remembered.
Other bulls managed to create panic even before the running. Once, in 1898, according to Joaquín Martínez Ubeda in his book of reminiscences, the pens were to be found in a place called Soto de Esquíroz, where the bulls were kept before being brought to the pen in Santo Domingo for the morning run. The pack of bulls, led by a bull by the name of "Cayundo", escaped from the pens and they created numerous moments of panic in the outskirts of Pamplona during the following days although they did not cause any injuries to anyone. The following year the pens were set up at the "Gas" site for the first time.
There was a more tragic outcome when a bull called "Liebrero" on the 8th of July, 1939 escaped from within the fencing. Just as the bull was going to run down the entrance to the ring a spectator yelled at the bull from behind the fencing and the bull charged towards the spectator and broke through the fencing. There were several moments of general panic as many people were lined along the length of the fencing and were now totally defenseless in front of the bull. The bull did gore one woman causing her an injury. However, "Liebrero" was quickly shot down by some of the local police before it could do further damage. As a result of this experience, the idea of putting up a double line of fencing came into effect the following year.