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

Madrid

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  .

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital