Since 1972, the capital city of Garraf has its own team of castellers: the Bordegassos de Vilanova. The team with the dirt-yellow shirt is the only one which reached the ninth level after completing all the set of eight-level castles. It was also the first one which crowned an eight-level castle with a girl at the top levels. During this near-40 years, the castellersof Vilanova have seen good and bad times, but they have always survived.
Vilanova i la Geltrú is the town which hosted the third nine-level castle documented as of now. It was year 1852, during the Diada de les Neus, and the Xiquets de Valls completed a castle of nine levels which most probably was the three of nine. Vilanova, first with Xiquets de Valls and later with Nens del Vendrell, had always had a strong interest for human towers. For many years, local afficionados had to settle for supporting the guest 'colla' or team. But when the dictatorship was approaching its end and democracy was near, Vilanova witnessed the birth of a new team which would be a breakthrough in many senses. To begin with, the name. The word 'Bordegàs' in the Vilanova area means just 'boy', and it does not have the negative connotations found in other regions. But the team was not innovating only in aesthetic matters like the name or the shirt colour: the new 'colla' meant also a new way of understanding human towers, a new way which would finally thrive and succeed: the total integration of women in human towers, and the philosophy of building lightweight structures.
The first 'Big Cart' and the 'Wander in the Wilderness'
That 'big cart' crowned in October 28th, 1979 was a big surprise among the castellers because it was almost the limit at that moment and because it was crowned by a teamwhich was quite new. But the most surprising thing for traditional circles was the fact that an eight-level structure could be build with such light people at the second and third levels. This example ended up being imitated, and improved, by other teams which adopted this philosophy to build the structures which would take them to the elite.
Strangely enough, that epic achievement didn't motivate the team to go beyond. Quite the contrary, it brought a relaxing which was becoming stronger year after year. With democracy back to our country, many people who had joined us for political reasons left the team, and only people who were really interested in human towers remained. As the seventies were a constant progress until completing the tower of seven and crowning the four of eight, the eighties were the years of regression, until reaching year 1989, when the team could only achieve one castle better than the three of seven: a five of seven crowned the Dia de la Colla. The 'Cap de colla' or team leader, Albert Salvany, helped by many castellers who are still with us today, is the key figure who leaded the team during all this period which nowadays is known among us as 'Travessia del desert' ('Wander in Wilderness'). He was Cap de colla since 1977, when the Bordegassos started achieving their best castles, and, despite the scattering after that, he kept the position until his death by heart attack the Christmas day of 1989. Precisely when the Bordegassos where in their most uncertain situation. But the team reacted. And the following years, with the arrival of many young people, we were growing more and more every season.
The Plaça de la Vila ('Town Plaza') had to wait during 15 years between the first eight-level castle of its team and the second one. But finally, in the year 1994, the four of eight was crowned, and a few weeks later completed. The year 1995 saw our first three of eight and the pillar of six, and after two years to secure these conquests, we reached a new quality level with Pere Guinvoart as our 'cap de colla' (team leader). The accumulated experience, the growing number of members and a great kids team allowed the colla to break their own records very easily. Besides securing the 'classical of eight' (three of eight, four of eight and tower of seven) along with the pillar of six, the team premiered the tower of eight with folre (crowned during a rainy Major Festival) and completed it two months later. The Bordegassos also completed at the Plaça Sant Jaume of Barcelona their first pillar of seven with folre. The final hit came in November, completing the five of eight at the first attempt. All this, the same year when we got our own headquarters.
Our best years
1999 is Bordegassos' golden year. The team repeated its best castles and added the four of eight with needle to its list, exactly one week before the best performance of its history. August 1st, at the Major Festival of Vilanova, the Bordegassos crowned their first nine-level castle: a three of nine which was followed by the four of eight with needle, the five of eight and the pillar of seven, all of them completed. La Mercè, the Major Festival of Barcelona, was again magical for the Bordegassos, who completed their first three of nine. Right after that, the team attempted the four of nine, but but they didn't succeed. The four of nine is the only castle that the Bordegassos brought to a performance and never achieved. The colla was at the top, but the limited number of membersmade any further progression very difficult.
Huge structures were still raised, although less often every season, until year 2002, when last fives and towers of eight were raised. Year 2001 ended with a really nice five of eight and a three of nine just crowned. As a curiosity, it was at Dia de la Colla of year 2000 when the team completed the three of nine for the first and only time in Vilanova. This castle was also the last nine-level castle of the 20th century for all the teams. The constant battle which saved this level for a while, since year 2003 only managed to keep the basic eight-level structures. Year 2006 saw which would be the last eight-level castle raised by Bordegassos for the next four years. Sometimes the pressure to save a castle was stronger than the motivation to raise them. It was necessary to change this attitude. After 13 seasons in a row during which the colla had completed eight-level castles, something else was necessary. Raising eight-level castles was not enough: it was necessary to rebuild an eight-level team. Definitely it's not the same.
Between 2007 and 2009, we had to walk one setp backwards in order to get impulse. Seven levels was our maximum. The tower of seven comlpeted at the Major Festival of Vilanovawas one of the first signs of recovery, although it didn't have continuity. In the year 2010, the four of eight became ours again, although only crowned. Year 2011 also started a bit roughly, but theepic tower of seven completed at the Major Festival was a milestone which prompted many people, most of them youngsters, to join us. The rehearsals were better and better every time, and the team exploded in joy at the fifth Albert Salvany Day, when we completed again the four of eight, something that didn't happen since year 2006. This castle was also special because it was the 100th in our history (85 completed and 15 crowned). That same day, the yellow team completed a tower of seven which ended up being our flagship, and also recovered the three of seven raised from below: a castle we didn't crown since 1998. The last weeks of the season, the rehearsals are oriented to repeat the best performance of the season and add the three of eight to our list.
Castles and other stuff
Bordegassos de Vilanova are one of the cornerstones of the rich associative life in Vilanova i la Geltrú. Besides its usual activity as castellers, the team is one of the most active associations in the city Carnival. It's also one of the driving forces ofManani Rock FM, the music festival which enriches the musical offer during the Major Festivals of Vilanova.