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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Day Two, Cebada Gago: the bulls most feared 
8th-Jul-2009 04:05 pm
Let me see..

Bulls from the Cebada Gago Ranch have a bad reputation: big, strong, and bad-tempered.

They've always struck me as self-confident, too. That quality shone in today's run. Despite the crowds, the bulls ran fast, only 2 minutes 35 seconds. Runners got plenty of chances to run just ahead of the horns — briefly, because any bull can outrun any human easily, but running in that spot is the pinnacle experience of an encierro.

One runner got gored in the gluteus in Estafeta Street, apparently not seriously.

Fighting bulls are raised without human contact because they are smart and would quickly learn so much about humans that no bullfighter could control one in the ring. The bulls at the encierro sometimes get upset by all the commotion and even afraid, and when they're afraid, they attack.

But the Cebada Gago bulls never seemed to feel threatened, even though I saw one runner actually hitting one of them. Perhaps that idiot felt brave. The bull seemed to consider him an annoyance too petty to be worth even a glance in reproach, let alone an attack. The idiot was lucky.

In addition to sites I mentioned Monday and Tuesday, here are some good URLs about the Fiestas de San Fermín.

A special section at the website of El País, Spain's leading newspaper:

Cuatro television's coverage:
Direct link to a slow-motion video, with background music, of today's run:

A fun site hosted by Kukuxumusu, a cartoon-based business, in English (mostly):

— Sue Burke

8th-Jul-2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
I am loving your commentary and the information you are passing along!
8th-Jul-2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
¡Gracias! There will be more.
9th-Jul-2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Sue, I'm finding your entries on the runs to be very interesting. But, at the risk of poking an ants' nest here, what do YOU think of the spectacle?

Kaz Augustin
9th-Jul-2009 09:41 am (UTC)
Good question. I am fascinated by the emotion, the adventure, the chance to observe extreme human behavior, and the minutely organized lunacy. People are risking their lives, and the serious runners do it as a form of self-discovery. What do they learn? Why are the rest of the people there? How do people act in the face of death? I want to know.

There is, of course, controversy about the bulls. Bullfighting is cruel, and the bulls probably don't enjoy the runs. I'm not sure I approve of it, but no one needs my approval to do anything, either. But I think that the runs and the bullfights have so much history behind them that they might merit preservation on that point alone.

Bullfights are the last remaining pagan animal blood sacrifices in Europe. I think they serve to remind us of how different we are now than in the distant past, but I hesitate to assume that we have necessarily progressed. History ought to teach us humility.
10th-Jul-2009 01:46 am (UTC)
Fabulous! Thanks.

Kaz Augustin
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