Around 700 expected to compete in Arizona bull run
CAVE CREEK, Ariz. — It's not Pamplona, Spain. And these aren't the super aggressive fighting bulls known to gore or kill those who dare to get in their way.
But more than an estimated 700 willing runners Saturday ran for their lives and participated in the annual running of the bulls in this small Arizona town, around an hour north of Phoenix.
Cave Creek played host to a safer version of the storied sprints through Pamplona but with less aggressive bulls. Instead, the event used bulls who are rodeo animals and whose horns have been blunted for the occasion.
Runners, who have sign long release forms, knew ahead of time the route so they can see where escape exits are. Participants also signed a medical form saying they have not had any booze or drugs before the run.
"People do it because it's different. It's an adrenaline rush," said promoter Phil Immordino.
The event returned to Cave Creek after Immordino brought the run to this tiny town in the Sonoran Desert last year. But the event drew fire from animal rights groups over animal cruelty charges, and some town officials wanted Immordino to increase his insurance policy. An online petition opposing the event drew thousands of signatures.
Prior to last year's event, Immordino had organized similar runs three times, in 1998 and 1999 in the resort town of Mesquite, Nevada, and in 2002 in Scottsdale, Ariz. No one was killed or seriously injured in any of those runs.
Immordino said this year the bull run will be promoted as the newest extreme sport. The top runner will earn a $1,000 prize and the title of champion bull runner. Judges will determine the winner based on how close the runner sprints with the bulls.
The event began Saturday with scheduled runs of 12 bulls every hour. In total, 24 bulls were involved in runs and each were rotated out.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.