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Run! Famous Spanish bull chase to debut in America

Aug. 8, 2013 at 8:32 AM ET

If you’ve always wanted to run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, but couldn’t afford to take the trip, you may now get a chance. Two Americans have arranged to have similar bull runs in 10 cities around the U.S.

The idea seems to have caught on. Already 20,000 Americans have plunked down their $35 for the adrenaline rush that comes with running in front of a group of angry bulls that can reach speeds of 35 miles an hour.

The running of the bulls through the cobblestone streets of Pamplona has been a yearly event for centuries. The excitement that comes with it can come at a big cost, though. Many have been gored and trampled — and since 1924, at least 15 have given their lives for the thrill.

Brad Scudder and Rob Dickens, the U.S. promoters, understand the appeal.

“It’s that thrill, the adrenaline rush that you get from putting yourself in mortal danger and then coming out the other side victorious and unscathed, ” Dickens told Kerry Sanders on TODAY.

Scudder and Dickens have done their best to match the experience made famous in Ernest Hemingway “The Sun Also Rises.”

“It’s the real deal, and that’s why I think it’s getting people excited and that’s why we’re getting so much national attention,” Scudder said.

The bulls that will run in the U.S. won’t be herded to a bullfighting ring like they are in Spain. They’ll be coming from the professional rodeo circuit — and will return there once the “fun” is over.

The organizers are hoping that some precautions built into the courses will make the runs safer than they are in Spain, where bulls run down narrow streets with buildings on either side.

The first U.S. run will be in Virginia at the end of the month and Scudder and Dickens have designed a course with cutouts so the slow runners will have an escape from the bulls barreling toward them.

The response on Facebook has been mixed. Ryan Peck wrote “I want to experience as much I can, before I can’t.”

But another writer complained, “this seems barbaric and senseless to me.”

The Humane Society agrees and has said it opposes the events.

The U.S.D.A. has yet to render its judgment and has told NBC News that it is “carefully examining this issue.”

Veterinarian Davie Kaetzel says there’s nothing to worry about — at least from the bulls’ perspective.

“There should not be any harm at all,” Kaetzel said. But, he added, “It’s not something I would want to do. I like to be on the other side of the fence looking at them. I don’t like to be chased by anything.”

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