August 4, 2013
Run With The Bulls Without A Flight To Spain: The Great Bull Run Coming To America
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Good news for thrill-seeking Americans who have always wanted to participate in the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain but didn't want to travel overseas: an offshoot of the event is coming to the US.
According to Jeff Martin and Michael Felbernaum of the Associated Press (AP), the Great Bull Run is scheduled to take place near Richmond, Virginia on August 24. The event, inspired by the original running of the bulls, is one of several planned to take place in the US in the coming months, the organizers said.
Rob Dickens, co-founder and chief operating officer of The Great Bull Run, told Martin and Felbernaum that approximately 5,000 people have signed up for the first of these one-day knock-off events. A second, scheduled to take place near Atlanta on October 19, has already attracted 2,000 registrants, he added. Future events are planned for Texas, Florida, California, Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The event's website touts it as "an experience unlike any other" that "brings the Spanish tradition of the running of the bulls to the United States! Face the adrenaline rush of a lifetime as you're pursued by 1,000-pound bulls stampeding down a quarter-mile course."
Of course, as USA Today's Natalie DiBlasio notes, the homepage also cautions that those agreeing to participate in the run "accept the risk" that they might be "trampled, gored, rammed or tossed in the air by a bull, or bumped, jostled, tripped or trampled by your fellow runners...We do what we can to minimize those risks by using less-aggressive bulls than those used in Spain and allowing runners to hide in nooks and climb over the track fence if necessary, but make no mistake: You could get seriously injured in this event."
Those aren't idle warnings. Foxnews.com reports that 15 people have been killed during the Pamplona event since 1924, and dozens are injured each year. Last month, during the 2013 edition of the running of the bulls, a Utah college student and an Australian woman were both gored by bulls, the website added. Anyone wishing to take part will have to sign a waiver, similar to those required by sky-diving or rock-climbing businesses, the organizers said.
In addition to the potential harm to the people taking part, these kinds of events also often raise concerns about the wellbeing of the bulls themselves. Ann Chynoweth, senior director of The Humane Society of the United States' End Animal Fighting & Cruelty Campaign called these types of races "a shameful example of cruelty for the sake of nothing more than entertainment and profit" and called upon the USDA to launch an investigation.
Dickens assured Martin and Felbernaum that he and his colleagues would be collaborating with ranches that would supply the animals, and that veterinarians would be on hand to keep track of the animals' health both before and after each run. The Great Bull Run's website also assured that the bulls would not be hit, shocked, or abused in any other way, and that the event was "wholly committed to the health and safety of the animals we work with."