Dale Pierce. Matadores: Latino Bullfighters en el Ruedo de Toros. ISBN: 978-1-888205-07-7. $23.95.
Matadores is a unique, solid, and authoritative collective biography covering the career of various Latino and a few American toreros, who performed in the old Plaza Monumental de Toros of Ciudad Juárez over the plaza’s five decades of operation. This detailed reference book includes over 200 biographies of matadores, novilleros, rejoneadores, picadores, banderilleros and even a handful of writers who were regulars in the plaza. There is an ample selection of both famous and not-so-famous names. Among the biographies covering high points of their careers are Calesero, Luis Procuna, Carlos Arruza, Armillita, the Capetillos, Fernando Dos Santos, Finito, Inclusero, García Higuras, Francisco Ruiz Miguel, Cordobés, Mario Sevilla, Caleserito, Marian Ramos, Manolo Martínez, Eloy Cavazos, Curro Rivera, Curro Leal, Geno, David Renk, Jesús Solórzano, Fabián Ruiz, Jaime Bravo, Guillermo Montes Sortibrán, Jose Antonio Gaona, Bernardo Valencia, John Fulton, Patricia McCormick, Rogelio Leduc, Fabián Barba, Gastón Santos, and many others. Mr. Pierce also pays tribute to what may well have been one of the greatest days in the Monumental bullring during the 1979 season, when a rejoneador and three mediocre toreros gave the showing of their respective lifetimes to the dreaded toros de Casablancas, the bull ranch owned by impresario Hurtado. Large, difficult to handle by inexperienced matadors and with unshaven horns, no figures would face examples of this herd. Thus, the lesser-knowns with something to gain would take chances with them. Gastón Santos, John Fulton, Bernardo Valencia and Rogelio Leduc did so, cutting a total of seven ears before the afternoon was over. Matadores is not only an authoritative reference source of toreros Latinos, but it also pays homage to the arte taurina, las faenas, to both bullfighter and bulls, to the extraordinary men who have kept and still keep alive an ancestral Hispanic cultural tradition.
The author, while growing up in Arizona, saw, first hand, most of the bullfights in Nogales, and his parents would make a trip to Juarez about once a year. Once an adult, Dale Pierce would fly or drive to Juárez himself. The author comments: “Thus, I have fond memories of La Monumental and the Juarez bullfights stuck in my mind. I captured several of them on old 8mm movie film to keep my recollections sharp. Although, La Monumental is gone, the lives and stories have been kept alive in Matadores.