The fiesta of May 2 did not begin to be celebrated in Las Ventas with bullfights until the mid-eighties of the last century. Until then, festivities were scheduled sporadically, most of them because the day coincided with a Sunday; however, from 1985, coinciding with Madrid day, the date was institutionalized, which was even extended to celebrate the so-called community miniferia, as an appetizer to the San Isidro cycle.
On this day, several bullfighting competitions were held, without much livestock success, that is the truth, and since 1996 the celebration has taken on a Goya flair. Precisely, on the afternoon of May 2, 1996, the greatest triumph of a bullfighter took place that day in the ring of the capital. Madrid’s José Miguel Arroyo «Joselito» offered a masterful afternoon. Six ears of six thrusts, not a single prick, in a bullfight that has been inscribed with gold letters in the annals of Las Ventas.
And from Joselito to another day in which a bullfighter reinvented himself and gave a completely different dimension to what fans were used to. 17 years passed until May 2, 2013, when Antonio Ferrera underwent a true mutation from a bullfight presided over by the bragging with the flags and easily assimilated by the public, to another based on depth and a plasticity of great personality. A bullfight by El Cortijillo and the Hermanos Lozano allowed the Extremaduran to show his evolution, in which from that moment on he has been delving into the bullfighting that today flows in the squares. That day, his fellow band members Morenito de Aranda and Alberto Aguilar also savored the honeys of success.
The year after Joselito’s great afternoon, he opted for a poster of bells with César Rincón and Enrique Ponce, hand in hand. There was control from start to finish of the Valencian who fought hard until he managed to open the Puerta Grande. Another notable triumph was from Madrid’s Uceda Leal, who in 2004, alone, curdled a feat when he came out on his shoulders, overcoming hellish weather.
The aforementioned Morenito de Aranda also left through the Puerta Grande in 2015. He cut off both ears of a bull from Montealto’s good run, in a celebration in which López Simón also won the jackpot, but had to leave wounded by the door of the infirmary.
In the contest bullfights that were held from 1989, the presence of Luis Francisco Esplá was common, and among the few bulls that won the bravest award, “Malagueño”, by Adolfo Martín, who left his mark on the 2001 party.
In 1992, the bullfight was suspended by the picador staff before the new law that established more agile horses for the third of rods. The previous day, in Seville, the subordinate Manolo Montoliú was mortally wounded, and on May 2 the varilargueros stood up and there were no bulls, neither in the Maestranza nor in Las Ventas.
One afternoon to be forgotten was the 1990 contest in which Curro Vázquez, who worked hand in hand with Esplá, when he was injured, faced the six bulls in a climate of total mistrust, which generated a great final row.
Afternoons of glory, of blood, successes that marked the future of the Festival, bravery and meekness, days of cold and wind, of sun and gold, have marked May 2, which today appears empty for fans. .