Monday, July 23, 2018

Bull-Running is Bull----. But, It IS Fun to Watch!

by Ed Attanasio (writer), San Frickin' Frisco, Baby!, July 14, 2007


Charging bulls gored seven people and seriously injured several others this week as this year's San Fermin festival in Pamplona served up its longest and most dangerous run of the bull-running season.

Fourteen people were hospitalized, seven for gorings, six for treatment of head and other injuries and one with a really bad hang nail, the local government announced. Three people are in very serious condition after undergoing operations.

Running with the bulls is a stupid tradition. A bunch of people (mostly drunk Spanish men) run alongside a herd of bulls, annoying and pestering them until they either complete the run or get injured in the process. The equivalent in this country would be running out into freeway traffic, or playing chicken down on the railroad tracks. It’s a really dumb way to have a good time. But, I must admit, I enjoy watching it.

Bulls have been doing just fine for a long time running with each other. They don’t want to run with us. And with all the noise and people, I’m sure it’s no fun at all for them. I hear they do feed them well, though -- so maybe it’s a trade off.

Some folks reason that the tradition of running with the bulls has been devised by the Spanish as a way for the bulls to pay back the people for all the bull fighting that takes place throughout their country every year. If you look at it that way, it’s probably not so bad. Every time a bull gets a hold of some drunk, he’s essentially telling the poor sap, “And that’s for killing my dad!”

We don’t really do anything like that in this country. Florida doesn’t have a “swimming with the crocs” and Alaska doesn’t do a “skating with the polar bears” kind of thing. Most of our traditional animal-related festivals involve harmless stuff like watching frogs jump; groundhogs looking for their shadows, or waiting around to see a bunch swallows come home.

Here’s the rest of the most recent bull-running story, as it appeared in Bull Runners Monthly:

The herd of six 1,300-pound bulls, six steers and one really aggressive goat disintegrated shortly after the animals set off on the dash through the cobblestone streets of Pamplona in the sixth of eight planned runs.

One stray bull turned around and ran the wrong way. Herders with long sticks smacked it in the rump to get the animal pointed in the right direction.

The loose bull charged and tossed several runners—some of them clad in the traditional red-and-white garb of San Fermin—on its way to the bullring.

Several runners were trampled and seven runners were injured by bulls' horns. One 48-year-old man from Pamplona was gored in the chest and was reported to be in very serious condition. A 23-year-old Mexican was gored in the stomach and was also reported as very serious. And an 18-year-old kid got his feelings hurt when one of the bulls defecated on his brand-new Air Jordans.

The other runners who were gored were from Poland, Norway, Spain and Newark, with ages ranging from 23 to 50, officials said. They were all reported to be in serious condition.

The run lasted 6 minutes, 9 seconds, compared with the normal length of about 2 minutes, because the bulls separated—the most dangerous thing that can happen at Pamplona.

The festival in this northern town, renowned for its all-night street parties, dates back to the late 16th century. It gained worldwide fame in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises."

Since record-keeping began in 1924, 13 people have been killed during the runs, the most recent in 1995.

About the Writer

Ed Attanasio is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Bull-Running is Bull----. But, It IS Fun to Watch!

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By rjlight on July 14, 2007 at 09:22 pm
Actually most of the drunks who run in San Fermin are the visitors. Most Spaniards take the running of the bulls seriously--they know the streets, they know how hard it is. Other people just think it's this cool thing to say they've done it.
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By Steven Lane on July 14, 2007 at 10:24 pm
They should do this with Ex-Wives. Must more entertaining and certainly more blood and guts.
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