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The running of the men, Pomplona Spain
An ancient custom, a modern day spectical.
The running of the bulls, traditionally has nothing to do with men running.
A bull is a noble creature. A bull is king of his domain. On the range a bull has no real fear, that is if he is a real bull. In an arena a bull is an exalted athlete. More specifically a bull riding bull and a bull fighting bull are wonderful specimens of animals. Some reach a level of fame equal to their human counterparts. Good bulls are very valuable both in the arena and in the bedroom;-)
Now the men, and some women, that compete against these bulls are incredible athletes. They are strong and agile and skilled and warriors. These professionals train every bit as hard as any major sport participants.
And now today it is sad to see people get very injured, perhaps fatally by bulls. Many of these folks are on vacation and think they can compete with a real bull, just because they are manly. Yes I mean the running of the bulls (they still call it that from tradition). Believe me these are not the champion bulls. These bulls represent the bringing in from the range, bulls good enough to be tested but probably just meat.
I do remember reading Hemingway’s account but only barely. I happened upon the event in 1972. At that time real bulls still ran and there were maybe two dozen of us seriously running. Yes rather than hop out of the bull’s way we actually did all we could to make it to the arena. Only by doing so could you receive the red bandana that is now sold everywhere.
These guys might look scrawny, but I would not get in there.
My running mate was a little older and a native of Ohau. He figured that since and I cowboy boots and a hat that I knew all there was about bulls – wrong. But we were both competitive athletes and could run and jump fast. The first day and I got knocked down hard and kinda hurt. My pard got me out of the way safely. Now we were veterans. The next day we had a good spot to start in. We just ran like hell. A guy got gored behind us by a great big bull, the scramble gave us a clear shot just ahead of bull with blood on it’s horns, but we made it and were rewarded to where the Red Bandana the next day.
The last day and we made good run, but my mate got gored good in the leg which ultimately caused him to go home in medical transport. (no, not what you would think, the antibiotics and the hospital food resulted in a constipation so bad he needed surgery – but that was out of Oslo and another story about the midnight sun and naked dancing)
In about 98 down Rosarito Mexico way I was challenged to hop in a corral with two muy loco toros. Of course it was due to my bragging about Pomplona. Well the bulls were not that tough, I ran around bit and they tired of me. So I hopped out on the brick wall side of the corral, a buddy leaned over to help me up the wall, the concrete pillar type railing on the top of the wall came crashing down on me. A nasty concussion and 14 stitches --- and now I have a bull running injury to show off.