Adrenaline junkies don’t have to travel far this summer, as a Southern California version of Pamplona’s running of the bulls is slated to come to Galway Downs Equestrian Center at 38801 Los Corralitos Road on June 21.
The Great Bull Run is a Boston-based corporation traveling to nine destinations this year; the Temecula area will be the first location to host the daylong festival in Southern California.
The runs take place on a quarter-mile track with about 600 runners per race, who sprint for their lives when up to a dozen-and-a-half 1500-pound bulls are released.
“Those who desire the most danger can run alongside the bulls as they pass,” the Great Bull Run website states. It also discloses that it is not a safe event and lists the risks: “trampled, gored, rammed or tossed in the air by a bull, or bumped, jostled, tripped or trampled by your fellow runners.” But it also claims that in the past 103 years there have only been 15 deaths in the Pamplona’s bull run.
The Great Bull Run was established in 2013, and has hosted four events to date. Following the races, spectators and runners can participate in a massive tomato fight. Some safety measures taken during the event include a standby of medical staff, and professional bull handlers who also participate in each run. The site also says that the bulls horns’ are not filed to razor-sharp points like they are prepped for the run in Spain.
But the dangerous race isn’t welcomed by everyone. The polo grounds the Great Bull Run has arranged to use is bordered by a residential area and wineries and has a Temecula address but is in an unincorporated area of the county. “The Bull Run is not in Temecula and the city would not sponsor nor sanction such an event,” mayor Maryann Edwards said.
Last month, a lawsuit was filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and aims to prevent the Great Bull Run events scheduled in Southern and Northern California this summer — on June 21 in Temecula, July 26 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.
The lawsuit is said to be the first one filed to try and stop the bull run. The suit claims the event violates California’s anti-cruelty law and Unfair Competition Law. According to the Great Bull Run site, the bulls are not abused in any way. Neither the County of Riverside or Galway Downs returned calls for comment.