Organizers of Cave Creek's Running of the Bulls Festival in October have been more than happy to send out notifications, scheduling information, and colorful descriptions of their three-day event, which they've described as "the thrill of a life time," a "$25 Adrenaline rush," and "better than drugs."
And while Running of the Bulls America, the Cave Creek-based LLC in charge of the bull run, shouldn't have to worry about the Drug Enforcement Agency busting their hoedown, they will have to face more than a few angry members of Peta before they can fire the starting gun.
Last week, the animal rights advocacy group launched a petition to stop the run, currently slated for for October 14, 15, and 16.
"While we understand that there are some fundamental differences between the proposed Cave Creek event and that which takes place in Pamplona annually, we believe that the basic liabilities at play can be illustrated by the fact that 200-300 people are injured in the latter event each year," reads the petition, started by Cave Creek resident Sam Taxy, addressed to the mayor. "Thousands of people have been hurt, some fatally, after falling, getting stuck in pile-ups, being trampled or gored."
Members of Peta have also taken to the event's Facebook page
and posted images of injured runners and bulls, which are met with statements by organizers: "The bulls are the stars of the show, writes Phil Immordino, Promoter of the Running of the Bulls Festival. "They are treated like royalty. They love this and out getting a little exercise. No harm will come to the bulls."
As of this morning, the mayor's still ready to host the event. "We are excited to have the Running of the Bulls Festival come to our town," Francia said in his latest press statement. "It fits Cave Creek perfectly. It has given Cave Creek tons of media coverage and will bring business to our town."
Bigger than business are the 40, 1500-pound bulls that will run six races down a quarter-mile track down the main street just outside of the Buffalo Chip Saloon
and rodeo grounds. Organizers expect the run to bring in a few thousand runners who, after signing a slew of safety releases and agreements, will be free to race, trip over each other, and run from the bulls to the final pen.
If the event takes place as scheduled, it'll be the fourth time a "traditional" bull run has been produced by Running of the Bulls America; they also hosted the event two times in Mesquite, Nevada, in 1998 and 1999, and once in Scottsdale in 2002. It'll also be the fourth time the organization has produced the event
ripped off inspired by a 400-year-old bull running tradition in Pamplona, Spain.
Participants pay $25 for each run or $50 for an all-run pass. On the day of the event the cost is $35 per run or $75 for an all-run pass. Spectator tickets start at $20 for the Friday night party and concert and then $20 for Saturday. VIP seating costs $50. For information on the event go to runwiththebullsusa.com or call 1-855-480-4786.