The Apartado happens each afternoon during Feria del Toro, or festival of the bull, which is a central part of the larger San Fermin Festival. We already know the bull ranch (and therefore “breed”) because there is only one ranch supplying bulls for each day. That schedule is published in late Spring, you can see a sample from our June, 2017 post about the 2017 Pamplona Matador Lineup.
Once the bulls run through town in the morning bull run, they are kept at the corrals in the Plaza de Toros. In the afternoon, the officials of Casa Misericordia – the charitable organization responsible for putting on the bullfights – gather with the matadors, bull owners, pastores (herders), local politicians and taurinos (aficionados of bullfighting). This is a time-honored tradition, where the bulls are sorted out and assigned to the matadors. There are three matadors per night and two bulls per matador, so this is the drawing to figure out who gets which bull.
It can be difficult to get an invitation, but we’ve been honored with a few spots in the past. Who knows, maybe we’ll get invited back next year!
If you’d like to learn more about the Apartado from the eyes of a Pamplona local, you can read this first-person account of the Pamplona Apartado.