Rafael Guerra Bejarano
Rafael Guerra Bejarano "Guerrita" was born in Cordoba, in the household of an employee of the slaughterhouse, one and half months before his side-whiskered uncle José "El Pepote" was killed in Madrid by "Jocinero", on March 6, 1862. In 1878 he started a long apprenticeship as banderillero (banderilla-man) and second swordsman. He became a full bullfighter on September 29, 1887, in Madrid. His sponsor (apoderado) was "Lagartijo". On this occasion "Guerrita" announced "I trust rather the benevolence of the public than my own merits and will try to fulfil my task by doing my best".
A Spanish hand fan commemorating the 1887 event—Rafael Guerra's "alternativa"—survives in the collection of the Staten Island Historical Society at Historic Richmond Town in New York. It features a depiction of "Guerrita" receiving the sword of "Lagartijo" (matador Rafael Molina). This ceremony marked the elevation of Rafael Guerra Bejarano from an apprentice to a professional matador.
For ten years, throughout which he maintained his superiority and stature, specially from 1890 to 1899, the Cordovan bullfighter was in open battle with anybody was not him. On October 15, the Cordovan bullfighter was quished, but crestfallen, he had to surrender unconditionally, in a hotel Zaragoza: "I quit bullfighting, but not of my own accord, I'm spelled.". "Guerrita" took part in 891 bullfights, killed 2547 bulls and never had the three warnings. On May 19, 1895, at six o'clock in the morning, he got dressed (he wore a gold and green costume that he would not take off until nightfall) to kill three of Saltillo's bulls at 7:00 A.M. in San Fernando; Three more of Cámara's at 10:30 A.M. in Jerez and three more of Murube's at 5:30 in Seville.
Quotes about him
- (TEN MASTERS by Bernardo V. Carande, Los Toros by Ed. Indice, page 117)
- "Fan, 1887". Online Collections Database. Staten Island Historical Society. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
- Portrayal of Rafael Guerra's alternativa, from the Staten Island Historical Society Online Collections Database
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