The Great Bull Run, an event styled after Spain’s yearly “Running of the Bulls,” may have trouble coming to Southwest Riverside due to safety concerns and a lack of necessary documentation, according to county officials.
The event would allow individuals to run in a race where they would be chased after by bulls in a secured setting and is similar to the traditional Spanish event where individuals, often villagers of the town of Pamplona, are chased by a small group of bulls through a sectioned off area of city streets.
The Americanized event goes even further in its attempt to capture aspects of Spanish culture with a tomato fight after the race. The fight is loosely based off of another Spanish event, La Tomatina, which happens in the Valencian town of Buñol yearly.
But all of the decadence and wildness of the event proved to be too much for The City of Lake Elsinore, which declined to hold the event due to safety concerns after receiving a large number of e-mails from concerned residents.
So event organizers brought it to the Temecula Downs Event Center, which is located outside of city limits in an attempt to keep the event within the region.
But the event still may not happen as Riverside County has voiced hesitation over holding it. The event would be difficult to facilitate due to planning issues and safety issues, according to a press release from Riverside County Public Information Officer Ray Smith.
On Friday, Feb. 7 county officials notified the Temecula Downs Event Center they had no right to hold the event because application for a permit was not filed with the county, according to the release.
Smith could not be reached for comment for additional details on how the event might be dangerous or haphazard Friday. However, he did confirm Thursday, Feb. 13 that paperwork had still not been filed.
Rob Dickens, chief operating officer and co-owner of The Great Bull Run, said he doesn’t see why anyone would think the event was too dangerous to hold because there were no serious injuries in other cities to hold the event.
“Running with the bulls is not as dangerous as it may seem from the videos you see on YouTube,” Dickens said. “Because all you see on YouTube is just the highlights where people get hit; you don’t see that 99 percent of people are out there running and they’ll never get punched or close to a bull.”
“In Pamplona, they’ve only had 15 deaths in 103 years,” he said. “So let’s think about that for a minute: 15 deaths in 103 years – that’s a much lower death rate than you have even in professional football, so I would say, obviously, that since we’ve had three events so far, nobody has died and two people had injuries.”
But the fact that two people had injuries wasn’t reassuring to Lake Elsinore City Manager Grant Yates. Yates saw the two person injury over three event track record as more of a mark against the event than something that went toward its benefit.
“At some of these events there were some injuries and we just didn’t feel it fit for our community,” he said. “You know, and that’s all I can tell you, we look at the pros and cons and this didn’t work for us.”
Neither Dickens nor representatives from Temecula Downs could be reached after Riverside County announced their opposition to the event, so it’s not clear whether the event will still be taking place at this point in time.