Pamplona-style bull running is coming to America

Thu Aug 8, 2013 4:51pm EDT
 
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By Gary Robertson

RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - Far from the narrow cobblestoned streets of the Spanish city of Pamplona, Americans will soon be running with the bulls at a Virginia drag-racing strip.

"The Great Bull Run" on August 24 at the Virginia Motor Sports Park is an American adaptation of Pamplona's San Fermin running of the bulls, made famous by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises."

In the U.S. version, participants will have to buy insurance before braving the horns and hooves of bulls chasing them down a quarter-mile strip of asphalt set in farmland south of Richmond.

The bulls, weighing in at 1,000 pounds (450-kg), can hit speeds of more than 20 miles per hour (32 km per hour).

The appeal? Pure adrenaline, said Rob Dickens, co-founder and chief operating officer of The Great Bull Run.

"Why do humans want to do anything dangerous?" he asked. "It's the thrill of it. It's knowing that you're doing something dangerous. That's why there are no events called ‘walking down the sidewalk.'"

Over the past 100 years, 14 people have died in Pamplona's San Fermin festival which dates to the 13th century and which now draws visitors from around the world to a week of partying and bull-fights. At the last event, in July, dozens of people were trampled and several were gored, including one American tourist who had to have his spleen removed.

About 5,000 people have paid up to $50 to enter the Richmond event, which organizers said will launch a 10-city U.S. tour over the next year, including Atlanta, Houston and Dallas.   Continued...

 
A runner gets gored by a bull on Estafeta street during the sixth running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, in this July 12, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Susana Vera/Files