ENNIS (CBSDFW.COM) – Everyone’s probably heard of the festival Fiesta de San Fermin, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. The event gets attention the world over. Now, a similar type of bull running event is headed to North Texas, but not everyone is excited about it.
If you live in or can get to the Lone Star State and have always wanted to try and sprint ahead of a herd of racing bovine, put on your running shoes and prepare to head to Ennis. That’s where thousands of people will soon be testing their skills, and some say tempting fate, while dodging 1,500-pound bulls at the Texas Motorplex.
So far, some 2,000 people have signed up for The Great Bull Run and will be sprinting down a quarter-mile track this April.
Up to 24 bulls are released during each run and participants sprint along a quarter-mile track. Each event consists of multiple bull runnings followed by the “Tomato Royale,” a large tomato food fight with that both participants and spectators can join in.
Great Bull Run organizers are holding events across the country and just recently had an event in Houston Hugo Soto was one of the runners who took part in the January run. “Once you finally see them [the bulls] that’s when you realize ‘oh my God I gotta run!’”
Soto spoke to the CBS television station in Houston not long after he was trampled in the race. The 21-year old student suffered a head injury.
Rob Dickens, COO of the Great Bull Run said, “There have been injuries of the type that you would see at any physical sporting event, like football. [Injuries like] broken wrists, sprained ankles, bruises, [and] cuts.”
Dickens who spoke with CBS 11 News on Skype also said, “Running with the bulls is an inherently dangerous activity but that’s what draws people to it.”
To date there have been some 10,000 runners who have participated in Great Bull Run events and only four people have been injured to the point they had to be taken to the hospital. Any other injuries weren’t serious enough to seek medical attention.
Dickens also said the health and safety of the animals is closely monitored by veterinarians. “There is absolutely no animal abuse happening at our events.”
But animal rights advocates who are less than enthusiastic about the run disagree. North Texan Eddie Garza has even started a petition on change.org hoping to stop the run in Ennis.
“These animals are running for their lives while panicked people are sprinting around them,” he said. “The animals themselves are panicked, because of that it’s a very horrific event for both humans and animals.”
When questioned about the conditions facing the animals Dickens said, “The bulls are in the wide open — they are not being held in a closed situation where you can’t see what’s going on.”
Lots of people, including thousands of spectators, are expected to turn out for the event in Ennis.
The Great Bull Run in Ennis is scheduled for April 5, 2014.
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