• 66°

Spanish custom is a bunch of bull

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
The web site story caught my eye the moment I clicked on the page.
"Man gored by bull," was the headline. That's not something you see every day.
It seems an Arkansas man, who has yet to be identified, was in Pamplona, Spain for the annual running of the bulls when he was gored, shall we say, from behind.
The bull caused severe injuries to the man, landing him in a Spanish hospital in critical condition. This latest injury came one day after four people were trampled and two more gored as part of this annual tradition.
The traditional running of the bulls is part of the annual Fiesta of San Fermin. Basically, it consists of about 200 people running in front of a bunch of large, mad bulls as the animals make their way down the half mile path from their pens to the bullring.
If you're lucky, you stay in front of the bulls and go home with a really cool story. If you're unlucky, such as the man from Arkansas, you end up in the hospital with the image of a bull's horn pressed firmly into your backside.
You have to wonder how something like this got started. I did some research but basically came up with this: the festival is a big party, sort of like Mardi Gras in America. Basically, this started because the bulls has to be brought to the bullfighting ring during the festival and some drunk guys thought they would go with them.
Can't you just imagine the conversation?
"O.K, Juan, here's the plan. We're going to get really good and drunk and then we're going to let the bulls out and see if we can outrun them. We're also going to get a bunch of our friends to stand on the street next to where we're running and let them smack the bulls on the behind to get them really mad. Sounds like a party to me!"
And somehow, for some reason, Juan agreed and the tradition of running with the bulls was born. Down at the bottom of the web site where I learned all this information, there was a small story about another group of runners who gather during the same festival to run alongside the city's buses.
It seems running with the bulls wasn't challenging enough. Again, you have to wonder about that first conversation:
"Why stop at bulls Pedro? Why don't we take our chances against a big metal object with an engine and giant wheels! Whoo! Bring on the sangria!"
I hope Mr. Gored-From-Behind Arkansas man gets better and I hope he learned his lesson: don't go looking for trouble. It will sneak up from behind and get you when you least expect it.