THANKS NATC FOR REWARDING MY
In November 9, 2007, Hugh Hosch, NATC Secretary, sent me an official letter informing me, that I had been granted the George B. Smith Arts and Letters Award at the 2007 NATC Convention, which was held in Tlaxcala, Mexico, last October, sponsored by the Aficionados de Lo Angeles taurine club. I was nominated for this award by TBA, of which I am a member.
Before I express my gratitude to the American aficionados and their bullfighting organizations, I should first remind the readers what the acronyms NATC and TBA stand for, and then I will recount some of the events that led the NATC to grant me the award.
The National Association of Taurine Clubs of the United States of America, NATC, is the umbrella organization that unites most of the American bullfighting clubs. Since its foundation, this organization has held an annual congress in different cities of the tuarine world, with the goals of offering its members the opportunity to participate in bullfighting events, and to deal with matters related to its member clubs. One of these matters is to grant prizes to individuals who have distinguished themselves in their service to their clubs, or by for their efforts to promote the Fiesta Brava in the United States. The George B. Smith and the O. P. Houston are the names of the awards that are granted.
Additionally, the Taurine Bibliophiles of America, TBA, is an American club whose members are collectors of English language books with bullfighting content. At the same time, TBA is a member club of the NATC, and as such it has the privilege to nominate candidates for the awards granted by the NATC. So, based on my contributions through my writings and presentations intended to promote bullfighting, TBA nominated me as candidate for the George B. Smith award last year. Then, the representatives of the club members voted in my favor to be the recipient of the award at the 2007 NATC Convention in Taxclala. Therefore, after thanking NATC, I wrote a thank you letter to my organization, which was published in the December edition of TBA’s La BUSCA magazine. I reproduce here part of the content of this letter, in which I recount some of the steps that led to my nomination and the granting of the award:
Dear fellow TBA members:
Our Taurine Bibliophiles of America, as we well know, is the American association that, since its foundation in 1964 has enabled us, the collectors of taurine literature, to be in touch with each other to exchange views about our hobby and, at the same time, LA BUSCA, has kept us well informed of what is going on the taurine literary world.
TBA has performed those objectives very well for me since I feel that today I am more knowledgeable and appreciative of American taurine literature than I was before I joined TBA. Nevertheless, I want you all to know that our association has provided me with additional opportunities, since it has opened doors for me to get in contact with the American aficion, and it has also allowed me to make new friends in America who share the same passion for bullfighting and its literature as I do.
My first contact with TBA was at the Tertulia at the residence of Don and Patti Conover in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1984, where I met a group of special people, and I knew immediately that I was among friends. As a result of that pleasant experience at the Tertulia I was motivated to be a part of TBA, and before the weekend was over I had become a new member.
I had similar experiences at other TBA tertulias that I attended...
I sincerely thank every one of you for your friendship, and I also have to thank you for a meaningful event that started to take shape at the 2007 Tertulia. There I was genuinely surprised when our President Gil Arruda announced at the dinner we had in a local restaurant that I was being named an Honorary Member of TBA and he presented me with the respective certificate. As if this honor was not enough, Gil added in his speech that TBA had nominated me for the George B. Smith Award, with which the National Association of Taurine Clubs of America recognizes individuals for their writings about bullfighting. I was at a loss for adequate words of gratitude to thank everyone present at the dinner for the double honors that TBA bestowed upon me that night.
Four months later, I received a letter from Hugh Hosch, NATC Secretary, dated November 9, 2007, which read in part: “It is with great pleasure that the NATC Executive Committee and member clubs congratulate you on your having been voted the prestigious George B. Smith Arts and Letters Award at the 2007 Convention in Tlaxcala recently”.
So, as we matadors say in the brindis before starting a faena, I say “TBA members, I dedicate this George B. Smith Arts and Letters Award to you. Gracias amigos."
I am overwhelmed and thankful to NATC for honoring me with George B. Smith Arts and Letters Award last year, but I have to say that this was not the first time that this organization and its club members surprised me by recognizing my labor pro toreo in the United States.
The first time happened at the 2005 NATC Congress in Jerez, Spain, where my nomination for the 2006 O. P. Houston Award was approved by a majority of the member clubs. Regarding the inscription on the trophy the award “is given to a person, who during the lifetime of the NATC has contributed exemplary service to the Taurine World and has conveyed to others an enlightened view of the history and art of La Fiesta Brava.” On that occasion I was nominated by the Peña Sol y Sombra from San Francisco, and the award was presented at 2006 NATC Congress on April 2006 in Aguascalientes, Mexico, sponsored by the Aficionados de Lo Angeles.
On different occasions, both privately and publicly, I have manifested my gratitude to the American aficionados and to their taurine clubs, but now once more I want to thank the America aficion in general, and particularly the NATC Executive Committee for granting me the two awards, as well as the officers and members of the Peña Taurina Sol y Sombra and of the Taurine Bibliophiles of America for nominating me for these trophies. I am also grateful to the representatives of the other clubs who voted in favor of my nominations.
So when the George B. Smith Award will be presented to me in September at the 2008 NATC Congress in Logroño, Spain, which is being sponsored by the New York City Club Taurino, I will be thinking that I never imagined when I was writing about bullfighting and promoting it with other activities in the United States, that my efforts in this regard would be recognized with two NATC awards, since whatever I did it was done only as a labor of love for the magnificent art that is our Fiesta Brava.