Since the Bull’s inception, the Tejada family, relatives of the original bull artist Manolo Prieto, have produced and erected these four-story metal beasts for the Osborne family. Unlike the many advertising slogans and images inducted into the pop culture hall of fame, the bull has made an indelible impression on Spain’s landscape and the mindset of its people. Identifying with its virtues, Spaniards adopted the bull as the people’s icon, their pillar of strength symbol of fortitude.
Between 1988 and 1997, legislation abolishing highway advertising threatened to remove the Osborne Bull, sparking widespread attention from the media and a concerned public. Cultural associations, artists, politicians, journalists and leading figures from every sphere pleaded for the bulls’ pardon. Motivated by this widespread passion for the bull, hundreds of municipalities even offered their own land as a sanctuary for the bulls displaced by the decree.
Committed to preserving the herd, Spain’s citizens demanded that the Osborne Bull remain a part of their countyr’s landscape. In December of 1997, Spain’s Supreme Court astonishingly granted the “bullboards” amnesty, declaring the roadside silhouettes part of the cultural and artistic heritage of the Spanish people and countryside.
Today over ninety Osborne Bulls stand proud in Spain. Fifty years old in 2006, the bull remains the symbol of Osborne and an icon of Spain.