Americans grab Spanish life by the horns and import bull running for US tour
Cobbled alleyways of Pamplona replaced by tracks in California, Florida and Texas
It has been decades since the original London Bridge was transported and rebuilt in Lake Havasu, Arizona, and the gondoliers of Little Venice are a recognised Las Vegas institution. But soon Americans averse to travelling or flying will be able to enjoy another traditional European tourist attraction – the July bull runs of Pamplona in Navarre – without having to set foot on a plane.
The Great Bull Run, an event clearly inspired by Pamplona’s San Fermin festival, will visit a number of southern US cities this summer and autumn. A drag-racing strip in Richmond, Virginia, and a horse racing track in Atlanta, Georgia, will replace the narrow cobbled alleyways of Pamplona. The event will also visit Florida, Texas and California.
Quite what Ernest Hemingway, the USA’s best-known proponent of bullfighting, would have made of the new day-long event is debatable, but 5,000 people have already signed up for Virginia, organisers claim.
“The original spirit of bull running is unique to Pamplona and [the region of] Navarre,” one of Spain’s longest-standing bullfighting correspondents, Carlos Iliana, told The Independent.
“But I’ve spoken to a lot of Navarrans and they think it’s great that the Americans can see bull running. The original concept, though, is impossible to copy – it belongs to Pamplona.”
Organisers are at pains to emphasise that unlike Pamplona, where there were six gorings and 48 hospital cases in this year’s San Fermin alone, participant safety will be maximised.
Only over-18s can take part, alcohol – pre-running – is barred, there will a series of gaps in the fenced-in course to enable the spectators to escape. And although the participants are invited “to grab life by the horns” as “you’re pursued by 1,000 pound bulls stampeding down a quarter-mile course”, touching the bulls is expressly prohibited.
Perhaps attempting to head off animal rights activists at the pass – some are already protesting against the event – the Bull Run website pointedly insists that “we do not abuse them [the bulls] IN ANY WAY. [sic]”.
It says that vets will be on hand to regularly check the animals’ health. And to reduce the tension of what is presumably the bovine equivalent of a highly stressful day at the office, the bulls “relax in open fields” between runs.
Furthermore, in the FAQ section, the response to the question: “Can I bring my dog?” is a stern “No”.
Those in need of more full-on Hispanic entertainment can take part in the Bull Run group’s tomato-throwing festival – imported lock, stock and vegetable, as it were, from the annual Tomatina fiesta, where up to 50,000 people fling tomatoes at each other every August, in Buñol, Valencia.
But the American version will be watered-down compared with the anarchic Spanish event. Organisers insist tomatoes have to be “squashed before throwing” and hurling tomatoes at people’s heads or at people less than ten feet away is also banned .
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
- 1 Chinese authorities arrest 11 people over exhuming woman’s body to sell as corpse bride
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Tower of London poppies: Tens of thousands of people flock to see installation in its final days
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Pope Francis: 'Caring for the poor does not make you a communist'
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...