Cultural Touchstone “Just Not the Same Without the Gorings” Say Locals
(Pamplona) – The gates opened in the same way they had for the past 600 years, but this year’s annual Running of the Bulls, held in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, is being described by Bull-running experts as a marked departure from previous festivals.
“Everyone knew this year was going to be different, but no one expected this dramatic of a change.” lamented local R of the B’s historian Carlos Maya.
Witnesses present in the day’s unusually sparse crowd reported seeing such abnormalities as bulls becoming exhausted while attempting to spear flirtatious runners who were themselves attempting to spear a pretty girl in the crowd who had caught their eye or bull and man befriending one another as they crossed the finish line in unison. There were even reports of a runner chasing a terrified bull with a sharpened stick. Traditionalists were aghast.
“I’ve run in over 20 races and I’ve never seen such a sorry display of cowardice on the parts of these bulls!” exclaims Armando Del Fuego, known locally as Uno-Arm Armando.
This is the first such event held after the recent mysterious mass-cessation of violence that has afflicted the entirety of the human race. Event organizers had discussed cancelling the event outright, but in the end they decided to proceed with the run as planned.
According to Dario Pena, head of the Grande Bull Council of Navarre, the festival is about more than just bull-on-runner-violence, “We believed the tradition itself should be preserved, even with this new, lesser evento estimulante. This is an ancient and proud ritual for our people, and we do not believe that the bulls’ inability to maim their victi…the runners should impact the spirit of the celebration.”
But the crowd’s restless reaction proved this a misguided assessment, at least in terms of popular appeasement. By the time the fourth bull was mounted, tamed, and ridden across the finish by a triumphant and entirely uninjured runner, bottles were flying and the mood of the crowd had turned ugly. To circumvent a riot from breaking out, organizers wheeled in massive projection screens and ran a “Best Hits” loop from prior and more successful Runs. This seemed to quell the majority of the pent-up anger bubbling through the horrific-accident-deprived spectators.
Not all were appeased with this solution, however, “We came here for the live atmosphere, not some prerecorded nonsense,” English holidaymakers John Shirley and Tim Whitebow griped, “I assure you we will not be returning if this is the way these amateurs are running things now.”
With new challenges and an unclear path back to the bull-goring glory days of yesteryear, the future of this hallowed tradition is uncertain.
Gesticulating wildly and waving his prized matador sword, Dr. Maya concluded, “It’s really simple; you can’t have an exciting event without the potential for bloodshed!”