The Running of the Bulls, A Perilous History…

"Antioquio", "Castellano", "Semillero" and "Liebrero" are four of the most famous bulls in the history of the encierro, the running of the bulls, but they are not alone…
with thanks to our friends at Sanfermin.com

The history of the running of the bulls is both the story of the hundreds of brave runners who have risked their lives running between the lethal horns and the thousands of toros bravos, Spain’s magnificent fighting bulls, who have shared the narrow streets of Pamplona’s old quarter for more then 100 years.  Among these bulls are some, more than others, that deserve to be remembered because of the shear panic or unforgettable moments of fear they have created in their race into history in the Plaza de Toros de Pamplona.

A Torrestrella bull overtaking runners along Calle Estafeta, July 7, 2014


Just as some bulls are remembered for what happened when they faced such famous bullfighters as Joselito (José Gómez Ortega), who was fatally injured by ”Bailaor" in May 1920 in the bullring in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo), Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, matador, writer, friend of Federico García Lorca and brother-in-law of Joselito, who was gored to death at the age of 43 after coming out of retirement by the Ayala bull ”Granadino" in August of 1934 in Manzanares (Ciudad Real), and the legendary toreador Manolete (Manuel Laureano Rodríguez Sánchez), considered  by many as the greatest bullfighter of all time, who died at the age of 30 on the horns of the Miura bull ”Islero” in Linares (Jaén) in late August, 1947, the names of some of the fighting bulls in Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls continue to live on in the history of the encierro.

Perhaps the most famous of these bulls to date is “Antioquio”, a powerful fighting bull of the Guardiola Fantoni bull raising ranch, who charged into history on the morning of Sunday, July 13, 1980 after causing the death of two runners on the same morning, a dark cloud on an otherwise sunny day.  
José Antonio Sánchez, an experienced runner from Cintruénigo (Navarra) was the first to be fatally gored as he ran up the slope of Calle Santo Domingo.  José Antonio was about to enter the Town Hall Square when he was caught from behind by the charging bull.  The second runner to fall victim that morning, Vicente Risco from Badajoz (Extremadura), received several fatal gorings in the bullring in what was one of the longest and most tragic days in the long history of the encierro.