Dennis C. Borba
"teaching the art of bullfighting"
Dennis Borba bullfighter

Gustine, California

Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza, Dennis Borba, Fernando Ochoa.

Dennis Borba and Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza in Gustine

On March 12th, 2004, Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza (Spain) made his historic debut performance in California at the Bella Vista Plaza de Toros in Gustine, California. Performing with the world's top figura rejonero were two matadors de toros: Dennis Borba (U.S.A.) and Fernando Ochoa (Mexico). The three toreros faced 6 brave bulls from the ganaderia of F.V. Borba & Sons. The evening was presided by Juez de Plaza Ed Cohn. The forcados of Escalon and Tulare caught Mendoza's two animals.

Gustine's oval ring and the necessity of running the animals without picadors were extra challenges that the Spanish Maestro, the American matador de toros, and the rising star from Mexico faced easily. The near capacity crowd received them all well, especially Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza and Dennis Borba who both presented triumphant performances. The evening began with a beautiful paseo and a moment of carefully observed silence for the memory of F.V. Borba and for the recent tragedy in Madrid. Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza wore a black ribbon on his arm in respect for the victims of the bombing. The evening began on this serious note, and the performances were displays of toreo profundo with some challenges and excitement.

The first animal of the evening, #349, a cardeno claro, was for matador Dennis Borba. Muy bravo, #349 was given a phenomenal series of opening lances, including chiculinas that demonstrated masterful control of an unpicced toro. Matador Borba was strongly applauded for his faena and given a richly deserved vuelta. Borba’s second animal, # 315, a cardeno oscuro, bragado, was the 4th animal of the night. #315 was the most difficult animal of the encierro. Dennis Borba faced the challenge and managed to pull passes out of the dangerous bull to much applause from the public.

The second and fifth animals of the night were fought on horseback by the maestro of rejoneo, Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza. Mendoza's first animal, #317, was cardeno, bragado, liston. #317 was muy noble, con son, and Mendoza earned great applause from the public with his consistently agile horsemanship. After the forcados from Tulare made a clean grab, Mendoza took a vuelta and received great appreciation from the public, many of whom had never seen him perform before. His second animal, the 5th of the night, was #338, negro and con clase and perhaps the largest animal of the night. Mendoza again demonstrated brilliant rejoneo with each of his horses. He placed rejones and banderillas (including banderillas cortas) with variety and honesty. After a more difficult grab from the team of forcados from Escalon, Mendoza was given another vuelta to great public applause with the forcado, though the forcado was visibly injured from difficulties encountered with the pega.

Fernando Ochoa was able to show the public his classic style and control throughout the evening and was well appreciated. Ochoa's first animal, #346, was the 3rd of the evening, and was bravo, con clase. Ochoa's toreo has a classic style and performed to great applause by the crowd. His second animal of the evening was a castaño with no number. It was a noble animal, but not as brave as the rest of the encierro. Ochoa drew out passes with the animal and cultivated a faena of long, smooth passes.

After the corrida, the toreros all agreed to participate in a tertulia and at the Ramada in nearby Santa Nella. The tertulia was hosted by peña taurina Sol y Sombra from San Francisco. Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza continued his debut tour of California with two performances over the weekend at the plaza in Pico Rivera near Los Angeles and then finally on Monday night in the largest plaza in the Central Valley in Stevenson, CA.

Pablo Hermosa de Mendoza in California
Forcados in California
Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza
Fernando Ochoa in California
Gaonera by matador Borba
Natural by Fernando Ochoa
Gaonera by Dennis Borba
Pase de pecho by matador Borba
Desplante by matador
Pase de pecho by Dennis Borba
Desplante by Dennis Borba