An excellent evening in Chelva

Four two-year olds from La Lucica (Teruel), a new ganaderia with Núñez del Cuvillo and Jandilla blood. For Clemente Jaume from the taurine school of Guadalajara, Germán Vidal ‘El Melli’ a student of tauromachy from El Puerto de Santamaria and two valencianos: Eloy Sánchez and García Romero. An excellent evening in Chelva (the journey from Valencia takes you through breathtaking landscapes) with great bulls, summer temperatures, a beautiful ancient village bullring with a more than excellent band accompanying the spectacle.

For a young ganaderia making his second appearance on the taurine circuit, La Lucica couldn’t have sent four better examples. The two brown and two black novillos were great looking animals and the most noble and brave little bulls I have seen for years. It was a pity that – the rules forbid it – none of them could have left the arena alive. Of course in novilladas sin picadores neither weight or name was given but I managed to find out the name of the best one of all: number four, Mosquero. He gave up his ears and his tail to García Romero, a Valencian student of tauromachy already so advanced that no-one doubts his taurine future will be golden.

But to start from the beginning. After a tractor pulling a steel H beam had egalized the floor we, the public (the arena was filled to half of its capacity, the Sol half was being reconstructed) awaited the first novillo. The light brown animal charged at anything that moved and specially the cape that Clemente Jaume opened. After a series of Veronicas, a quite of chicuelinas by ‘El Mell’i and two pairs of banderillas, Jaume started his faena with a slow series of muletazos to which the noble little bull reacted splendidly. Both bull and boy seemed to be enjoying themselves inmensely. Sadly, the sword hit bone twice and the third time landed in the ribs. No ear for Clemente Jaume, not even a lap of honor. Alfredo the Mule dragged the brave little novillo from the ring, accompanied by the applause of the Chelvanos in recognition of his quality.

The second novillo was a well muscled, good looking black animal who went straight to El Melli’s capote and that of Eloy Sánchez who stepped out for a quite of chicuelinas. During his faena German Vidal ‘El Melli’ could not take his eyes off of his adversary for one second. The bull followed his every move, almost knocking him down on two occasions.  But a great faena and an excellent sword awarded him two ears and a passage through the Main Gate.

Eloy Sánchez, the first student of the Valencian school of tauromachy received his novillo on his knees. And, this starts to sound like an echo in the Austrian Alps, this third novillo was another excellent product of La Lucica. A quite from Garcia Romero, four banderillas and a lovely series of muletazos got Sanchez’ faena going. But remember, these are students of bullfighting and no corrida de toros with veteran matadores, so the mistakes made, were mistakes by youngsters learning the art. Youngsters who get overconfident when things go well and forget the danger. It happened to Sánchez who, just as he thought he had taken the bull where he wanted it, the animal charged and knocked him over. Never mind Eloy, your faena was delightful and even though your sword went in in a media estocada, you deserved the two ears the public requested and the president awarded.

There are no words to describe Garcia Romero’s performance with perhaps the best novillo of the evening. Mosquero should remain in every aficionado’s memory as the bull who opened the golden gates for the young Valencian. Excellent muletazos por la espalda opened his faena de muleta. A great faena in which the novillero gave the animal enough time to recover, to catch his breath after every series of passes. Garcia Romero made it clear that he knew about distances and terraines, citing from a distance and gently easing into the bull’s terraine with beautiful low muletazos. And although the first sword came out at the side, the second attempt dropped the animal and got the novillero the two ears and the tail.

Three novilleros were carried out through the Main Gate. Only poor Clemente Jaume left on foot, to be comforted by his family waiting outside. Just like the other three.

It was a great taurine evening in the monumental plaza of Chelva, a village just an hour’s drive from the capital city and if the word ‘excellent’ appears in almost every sentence, it describes the ambience to a tee: Unforgettable, Extraordinary, Excellent.

Crónica de Pieter Hildering

Fotografias de Mateo.Tauroimagenplus