The Free Press, Mankato, MN

August 12, 2013

Bull running event is full of it

Why it matters:
Even a gentler version of the Running of the Bulls is an event that takes unnecessary risk.

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Unless you’re an experienced rodeo clown, participating in a running-with-the-bulls event is probably a bad idea.

The folks at Canterbury Park in Shakopee should figure that out sooner than later. A tour of the Great Bull Run series is considering Canterbury as one of its 10 stops in May. The park should pass.

The promoters say the bull run is not supposed to be as intense as the real Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, where about 15 people have died during the event’s 102-year history.(Yes, a lot more people die falling off roofs and we still have roofs, but that’s not really a fair comparison.)

The plan is to not use aggressive Spanish bulls in the event but to instead find some gentler beasts to trot alongside people who pay to participate (and sign a waiver saying the promoters won’t be blamed for death or injury). A woman at the Dakota County Fair last week who was injured when a bull got loose can attest to how dangerous a spooked animal can be.

And no matter how good-natured the bulls might be, scaring a herd to run around a track isn’t a very admirable way to treat an animal. It doesn’t take a strident animal rights activist to recognize that.

Clearly, extreme sports and fundraisers are catching on in a big way. (Hundreds of people at a time choose to run multiple miles through mud and maybe suffer electric shock for fun.) But this one is just pure bull.

It’s ironic that Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota has been picked as a charitable partner for this possible event. Maybe they could provide free bone-setting.

Instead of jumping into a herd of running bulls — and yes, even the docile ones still weigh more than a thousand pounds — we should run away from this idea.

Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” popularized the Running of the Bulls, and most people are satisfied to just read about it. Canterbury Park should let the sun set on making this an actual event.