Alvin Richardson

Auto racing, bull fighting and mountaineering are the only real sports. All the rest are games.” (Ernest Hemmingway)

In Pamplona, Spain there is an annual gala event in which, on cue, a firework rocket is shot into the air and six freaked out bulls are simultaneously released and sent barreling down a blocked-off city street. Their ultimate destination is a bull-fighting ring (although they don’t know it). Shortly after the bulls come boiling down the road, idiot human beings are released at various points along the route to see who among them can get accidentally gored to death. According to various reports, it is quite an enjoyable holiday fest.

The bulls that make this trek through the streets of Pamplona are called Toro Bravos, and I have to believe that these guys, panicked though they may be, are just trying to figure out how to navigate past these stupid people and into a nice rolling pasture where there are a bunch of heifers waiting on them. They are not really mad, just frustrated. If I’m not mistaken Toro Bravos (loosely translated) means “In a hurry to get to the heifers.”  

Little do they know that the matador awaits.

As previously noted, there are plenty of documented incidents including goring and trampling, but what do you expect when the Toros are trying to get to the heifers and a bunch of intoxicated fools are in their way? This is obviously a recipe for disaster but it is brought on entirely by colossally stupid human judgment. The bulls are not at fault here.

Nonetheless, we come to the point.

It is my considered opinion that these Spanish Toros are not nearly as malicious by nature as the bulls in rural Georgia. The one’s that reside in our neck of the woods are innately malevolent and need no provocation whatsoever to gore, trample and flatten innocent human beings. My observation is that if you turned Georgia Toros out into a street with drunken fools there wouldn’t be a man left standing inside two minutes. These guys are rough and I have the data to prove that bull runnings in Pamplona are not nearly the most dangerous in the world – that award undoubtedly goes to some local Toros that I have come in direct contact with over the years.

I have come to believe that there are four key ingredients to an entertaining bull running in Georgia. They are, in no particular order, pastures with farm ponds, pastures with heifers, pastures with fishermen and pastures with El Georgia Toros. When those things are all in place, one can witness what might be aptly termed as a “running of the fishermen” and it can be quite entertaining if observed from a distance.

I’m not sure why our El Georgia Toros are so ornery. Maybe they think we have designs on their heifers or perhaps they just don’t like anyone invading their pasture, but my numerous confrontations are solid proof that they are the baddest bulls in the known world.

Several incidents in particular come to mind. Once while fishing from the bank in a pond complete with pasture, heifers and a bull I was set upon by an Angus Toro who, once he had spotted me, came rushing like a freight train toward me with lethal intent. Since he came up so swiftly, I was left with but one option and that was to go swimming. In hopes that he was a non-swimmer, I plunged into the pond and struck out for the middle thus saving my life.

In another chance encounter, a massive Holstein bull decided to attack my truck which was parked in his pasture and I assume too close to his heifers. He was in the process of ripping off a mirror and both bumpers just as I arrived on the scene. He then decided that he’d damaged the truck enough and came after me. Fortunately, I had the truck between me and him and we played a nice little game of chase around the truck for several minutes. I was finally able to get my keys out, unlock the truck and escape to its interior. The big Toro gave my battered vehicle one more head butt before I spun out and got away.

Finally, I was fishing in a pond and was finishing up for the day when a Jersey bull came rushing up blowing, pawing and in general having a hissy fit. For some reason, he didn’t want me to disembark and kept bellowing and pawing dirt in the air letting me know that if I tried to take the boat out he would kill me on the spot. He was so adamant on this point that I eventually had to take the boat out on the opposite shore and wait him out. He finally returned to his heifers and I left well after dark.

After many encounters such as these, I’m not too impressed with the drunks in Pamplona and am in complete agreement with Hemmingway. Fighting with bulls is certainly a sport and just as certainly no game.

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