A big fat guy got gored. It only took one ornery bull one ordinary minute to find this guy standing still, with the deer-in-the-headlight look, to bull-bowl him over.
The rescue crews were on the guy faster than mosquitoes are on ears. I counted eight or nine concerned, caring men and women at his side. I wondered, if a few more folks got flattened, would there be enough rescuers to alleviate the alive or deep-six the dead? I wondered, too, why running with bulls is allowed; where in blazes are the helicopter parents? One can see why the bulls do this: they are ordered to. And one, truly, can see why the kids do this too: they are disordered.
Fortunately, as blind luck would have it, the fat guy’s injury was the only one needing immediate attention. (Later a broken nose, and a busted rib needed mending.)
The fencing needed mending, like now. Never have so many fences been leaped, clambered, shinnied, and bashed as the bull sprinters fled – trying to avoid a thrashing in gashing. The ability to scramble over fences makes this a G version of the XXX Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. There, runners get squashed against unmovable, unscaleable walls. Both events insist that the runners, before starting out - afterwards all bets are off - aren't on booze or drugs. At least if they were, one could understand why they’d do such a kooky thing.
The bull’s stereotype, at least from cartoons, always show them pawing their front hooves. They really do this in real life. Often. Especially when kids goad and showboat, waving shirts at them matador style, and especially while incessantly louder rock music drums up the bulls further. No bull, these bulls don’t need Red Bull.
Many think that the color red incites bulls to craziness but these muscular animals are color blind. It is movement, like the blink of an eye, or a wave of a pinkie, that sets them off. (Dairy bulls are very unpredictable and farmers - who like to live - cage them in bull-pens, or lead them by the nose with an inserted ring in the septum.)
The folks’ running style, to a man and a woman, is colorful. It's a unique feat with the feet. Feet and bodies go forward while heads crane backward: brain and body completely split the chores.
Many runners wore pink in honor of beating cancer. Later, to broaden their sartorial ensemble, some will be fitted with strait jackets.
To get your block knocked off all you have to do is pony up $25 and you’re eligible. The 2014 running was the 11th edition. Up to 80 contestants can run at one time. Besides the no drugs or alcohol stipulation, you must sign your life away. You must wear suitable footwear to be “safe.” And no runner may mistreat the animals “in any way.” For sure, I never saw a runner drop kick or sucker punch a bull, being too concerned with, well, staying in one piece, but you have to think the bulls feel a bit put out - running with a bunch of kids who, given this choice of activity, would be far better off in summer school learning logic.
The Giraffe Man won $1,000 in the Sunday August 3rd 2014 race for being the best bull runner. Eric Hanson was dressed as a giraffe and he’s 22. The day before, a bull broke his rib in that running. The judges were unanimous in awarding him for, get this, his second victory. When asked by the presenter what he did with his bucks earned previously he remarked, he didn't know, he could not remember the next day.
From days of yore, the bulls, being naturally territorial, have been honed for smarts, stamina, and strength and today those genes run down folks bred for balls and bravado and not much else. It is true, however, that some folks compete in this to complete their “bucket” list. (One trick: try to stay slightly out of the bull’s territorial range or radar.)
Fortunately for the bulls, they don’t get spear-stab-killed in the bullring later, like they do in Spain. But, upon reflection, they did get shunted off into a corral and we viewers did not see them again…so, who knows?
Will Strathmore introduce other bullish events, like bull-leaping? That bonkers happening still takes place in the south west of France and in our aforementioned Spain. The athletes must be extremely acrobatic to grab the bull’s horns and somersault backwards. But given that the participants’ heads aren't screwed on right they might confuse the horns with the tail and somersault atop the beast.
Which brings us to bull riding.
But that’s an inanity for another day.
Basically, the Strathmore Running of the Bulls is not only a scene but a slice of how life should or should not be lived; not just a voyeur exhibition but a voyage expedition into the vain and insane; not just a microcosm of life’s mysteriousness but a macrocosm of all that is nuts about it.
Nevertheless, it is great theater for the hoi polloi and all who watched in awe, slack jaw, would not miss it for the world.
Go bulls go!