A huge dose of community curiosity and the resourcefulness of some of Madera’s early leaders created an entertainment event 110 years ago that would have made P.T. Barnum green with envy.
In 1901, the Madera Carnival Co. held a four-day festival that included, among other things, an authentic bullfight, complete with Spanish bulls and Mexican matadors. The spectacle was held in a specially built arena right here in Madera, east of the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks on the north end of town.
The idea was conceived in August by J.M. Griffen, Russel Henry Mace, J.G. Roberts, M.E. Kirby, Frank Hunt, and Jack Daulton. These men formed the Carnival Co. and capitalized it at $10 per share, which brought in approximately $2,500.
Plans called for a rodeo/carnival event that would include a roping and tying contest, bronco riding, boxing exhibitions, and a street fair. The center stage, however, would be occupied by the bullfight right here in our fair city...