A bull-running event inspired by the traditional spectacle in Pamplona, Spain made its U.S. debut on a Virginia car racetrack.
The Great Bull Run held its first of several events Saturday at the Virginia Motorsports Park drag-racing strip in Dinwiddie,Va. Eight groups of 500 paid $60-75 for a chance to run a quarter-mile-long track with the 1,500-pound bulls. Organizers say thousands more turned up to watch from the stands in a frat party-type atmosphere before ending the day with a massive tomato fight.
After a slow start, the eight bulls rumbled down thew 400-yard track — guided by a couple of cowboys on horseback — forcing the red-scarfed thrill seekers to the fences.
Some have criticized the treatment of bulls in the runs. The Humane Society of the United States had representatives there to ensure there’s no mistreatment of the animals. Organizers have said they’re partnering with ranches who supply the bulls and veterinarians to monitor their health.
They'll be happy to know that no bulls were injured in the inaugural event although it was reported that two human participants needed medical attention.
The track was fenced with coves for runners to get out of the way quickly.
More bull running events are planned for Texas, Florida, California, Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
“Everybody’s happy,” said Great Bull Run’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Dickens. “It’ll be back next year.”