CACERES, Spain (AP) — A 16-year-old Spanish matador killed six bulls in one afternoon Saturday, pulling off a feat normally attempted only by seasoned veterans and winning trophies for his bravery — ears from animals he had just slain.
Jairo Miguel Sanchez Alonso, who nearly died from a horrific goring in Mexico in 2007, smiled broadly and waved to a friendly hometown crowd after the series of fights which took about two and a half hours.
The tall, slender boy showed his stuff in an arena called Plaza Era de los Martires, or Time of the Martyrs.
The bullfighter, who goes by the stage name of Jairo Miguel, turned in his best performance with bull No. 5, a hulking black specimen that weighed 435 kilograms (959 pounds).
After skillful cape-work he finished off the bull with a single deathblow from his sword, sliding it into a spot where it severed the beast's spinal chord. With the rest of the bulls he needed around three tries.
For that effort he was awarded the animal's severed ears, one of the bullfighting world's prizes for a job well done.
Minutes before he stepped into the ring, Jairo Miguel hugged his former bullfighter father and wept, underlying the emotions behind his courageous attempt. In just under an hour, he successfully slew his first bull, a black beast weighing 450 kilograms (990 pounds).
Wearing a sparkling white suit of lights with gold sequins that twinkled in the late afternoon sun the young toreador was greeted by a two-thirds full 5,000-seater bullring.
This type of drama, which pits a young matador against six ferocious bulls, happens every now and then when a bullfighter feels brave enough to risk his life to show his courage. Once a fighter reaches the minimum legal age of 16, it is not considered controversial in Spain.
The crowd was appreciative but not rapturous as he faced the animals while a six-man taurine band played traditional paso doble tunes.