That’s Bull!

Denver’s Running of the Bulls is both everything and nothing like its Pamplona namesake. To picture it, take Spain’s decades-old encierro, subtract the traditional heritage, reimagine it as a two-year-old fundraiser, and replace the bulls with horn-helmeted Rocky Mountain Roller Girls wielding pool noodles and waffle-ball bats. Then run before they hit you.

This bullish-on-Denver concept was inspired by both the Spanish standard and a similarly skewed version in New Orleans called NOLA Bulls. Last year, organizer Niles Emerick and friends pieced the project together during March Madness, gathered permits and sponsors, then watched as approximately 200 people fled down the streets of Highland, pursued by derby’s finest — and collected $2,100 for the Tennyson Center for Children in the process. “We can be contributing citizens while still being silly,” Emerick says. “It’s this fun reinvention of a famous tradition, but also this practical way to raise funds for a valuable community resource.”

Organizers expect at least 500 runners and are hoping for $10,000 in donations at this year’s 1K run, which starts at 9 a.m. today at 32nd Avenue and Tennyson Street. It costs $25 to sign up, and runners should dress in white with red accents, like their Spanish peers; if they’re game for harsher noodle beatings, they should place a bull’s-eye on their backs. For more information, visit
Sat., July 7, 9 a.m., 2012

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Kelsey Whipple
Contact: Kelsey Whipple