Great Bull Run comes to Bay area Saturday

Two runs already sold out

Pasco County - The Great Bull Run involves danger, no doubt.

The day-long festival that arrives in Tampa Bay on Saturday aims to recreate the adrenaline-fueled experience of running from bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

"We want to give people the opportunity to do this legendary event (and) to feel those emotions," said Great Bull Run's chief executive officer Rob Dickens.

The threat of getting hurt didn't stop Kathleen Dean and her family from signing up for the run at the Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City.

"My kids always go along with what I want because they're ambitious," Dean said.

They will run down a quarter-mile course with more than a dozen 1,500-pound bulls.

"Running from bulls? No, that doesn't sound good. But then I realized we are running with the bulls," said Veronica Spero of Palm Harbor. "Oh, that made things so much different."

Animal rights advocate Bryan Wilson doesn't see the fun at all.

"It's a glorified cattle drive where they are chasing bulls from horse back down a dirt road so that a group of people can call themselves extreme sports activists, or for whatever entertainment value they'll be gathering from it," he said.

Unlike Pamplona, the bulls are not killed in a bullfight after they run.

Organizers said they have a veterinarian on site and only run the bulls on grass or dirt.

They also said they use the same animals, valued at $10,000 each, at every event.

"From a business standpoint it doesn't make any sense whatsoever for us to be intentionally injuring our animals. But from a moral standpoint, we certainly don't want to be injuring them anyway," Dickens said.

For those who don't want the danger, the day includes a Tomato Royale. It's a splatter-fest food fight also modeled after the tradition in Pamplona.

Two of the six run times are already sold out.

For more information, visit www.thegreatbullrun.com.

Learn more about the Animal Rights Foundation at www.arff.org.

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