Bullfight statue draws looks

Restaurant piece on Speedway also lures pranksters
2010-01-04T00:00:00Z Bullfight statue draws looks Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 04, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The bull and matador in front of Casa Molina's is a symbol of Gilberto L. Molina's fondness for bullfighting and ranching.

And the bull's multicolored testicles?

Those are the object of scavenger hunts, photos and the curiosity of passers-by.

The statue has been in front of the family restaurant at 6226 E. Speedway for more than 40 years.

Molina had the statue built in the early 1960s, said his grandson, Gilberto Molina.

The sculpture was created by Lee Koplin, the same artist-builder who created the giant tiki head and other statues at the former Magic Carpet miniature golf.

"My grandfather was an old cowboy," said Molina, who is the restaurant's general manager.

The elder Molina, who founded the restaurant in 1947, was a rancher from his childhood into his adult years, Molina said.

He also was an avid bullfighting fan.

"Bullfighting was much more popular back then," Molina said.

Gilberto L. Molina died in June 2003, his grandson said.

The statue replaced a three-dimensional, stained-glass structure that featured a depiction of a bull and matador.

As for the testicles, the restaurant does not paint the body parts.

"That's not something we do," he said. "Many people stop and take pictures there."

Numerous groups, ranging from fraternities and sororities to car clubs, have shown up with spray cans to colorize the bull's genitalia.

Some groups are even generous enough to send the photos back to the restaurant, he said.

Molina recalled one group that sent a picture of a man armed with a spray-paint can in position to paint the gonads a new color.

"We have a plaque with the photo," he said.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger at 573-4115 or jyounger@azstarnet.com

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