The Pamplona Casa de Misericordia (the House of Mercy), which was founded in 1706, houses the elderly and infirm in and around Pamplona. It supports itself, in part, by organizing the bull fair for the annual July fiesta.
The Taurino Commission from the Management Board of the Misericordia has published their selection of bull ranches for the 2011 San Fermín feria.
The following breeds will be participating in the 2011 fiesta:
Miura, Herederos de José Cebada Gago, Fuente Ymbro, Dña. Dolores Aguirre Ybarra, El Pilar, Victoriano del Río Cortés, Torrestrella y Núñez del Cuvillo.
Most importantly, this means that the Jandilla ranch will not be making an appearance in the fiesta, at least not until a breed from the list above is replaced. That is not unparalleled. However, bulls from the Jandilla ranch had become, especially in recent years, the most dangerous and unpredictable breed.
For runners, knowledge of the bull breeds, and familiarity with the ranches is extremely helpful. Like knowing the running course, knowing the ranches helps develop a run strategy. It’s good to know which breeds are big, fast, or which tend to lose their herd formation. Of course, we know absolutely nothing, and noone should ever follow our advice. We are without a clue about anything.
MIURA – these bulls usually run on Sundays, and while the largest breed, are commonly regarded as the noblest and least likely to gore runners. Except when they do. Because of their sheer immensity, the fights are usually messy and extended. These are the official favorite bulls of the Philadelphia Peña and Taurino Club. We always run with them, and always wear a tie to see them fight, and celebrate with a nice dinner.
D.JOSÉ CEBADA GAGO – these bulls, which perennially appear during la fiesta, have a higher rate of goring than other breeds. They are noticeably faster than other breeds. Their runs deserve extra care. They have gored 41 runners in 25 years. They don’t stay together, and they regularly swipe horns at runners.
DOLORES AGUIRRE YBARRA – it seems to us that this breed is run on days that are commonly crowded, such as early in the festival or on weekends. Usually, there a less than two (2) runners gored, which should almost be expected because of the crowds. However, because they run with huge numbers of people, this breed leads in non-goring injuries (i.e. falls, collisions, etc.). Remember, if you fall, do not get up.
FUENTE YMBRO – these bulls first (1st) appeared in 2005, and they run fast: lightning fast. In 2007, there was not a single gored runner. In 2006, there was only a single goring. In 2005, no one was gored. In 2010, I wrote in my blog: “So, I’m thinking they’re due.” In 2010 their run lasted an agonizing 6 minutes and 23 seconds when a single bull wandered away from the herd for a nice goring.
EL PILAR — These bulls have not run in Pamplona enough to predict their habits. However, they are big bulls and very fast. In fact, in 2010, they were just two seconds short of the fastest time ever recorded. Only when runner Peter N. Milligan thoughtless threw himself down on the cobblestones in the callejón, forcing the herd to jump him and step on his binaca, was the herd denied the all-time fastest encierro time. What a clown. Here are some of my good friends from the El Pilar ranch standing on my head: A CLOSE SHAVE. It hurt much more than you’d think.
VICTORIANA DE RIO DEL CORTES – This breed ran for the first (1st) time in 2010, and ran fast and no one knows much else.
TORRESTRELLA – They have gored 21 runners in 10 years. They apparently used to run under a different ranch name, but I have not been able to find out much information about that.
NUÑEZ DEL CUVILLO – This breed is just average: not too big, not too fast, and not many runners gored.
Regardless, these are Spanish fighting bulls, and are bred to accentuate several masculine traits. They are all larger than a Smart Car, and best the speeds of all Olympic sprinters. Usain Bolt could hurt you if he bumped you at the airport – he’s a lot smaller than a bull. On any given morning, these bulls could tear you to shreds.