Bulls run down people and people love it!
- July 26, 2016
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Troy Moon PNJ.com The prey started their run through Pensacola shouting "Ole, ole, ole." But by the time they finished running through gauntlets of tough, plastic-bat wielding "bulls,'' they're probably going to be yelling for some Baby Ole to rub on those sore heinies. "It stung,'' said 12-year-old Kate McGraw, moments after finishing the sixth annual Seville Quarter's Running of the Bulls, a 5-K run/walk where roller derby girls � the "bulls" � chase folks through the streets, whacking them in the rear all the way. "But it's fun. It's not a normal run," Kate added. No, it's not. About 300 folks participated in Saturday's event through the streets of downtown Pensacola � not including the 65 grimacing, snorting "bulls" � featuring the Pensacola Roller Gurlz and other regional roller derby skaters. The run is inspired by the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, with fire-breathing roller derby women chasing down the helpless crowds. Before the run, a few brave souls taunted the "bulls,'' who were behind an iron gate looking mean. "Here it is,'' one man said, pointing his rear at the girls. "Come and get it." The women behind the gate glared and beat their plastic bats menacingly against the gate. To them, the runners looked prime for the slaughter. "Where's the beef?" yelled Brandi Winkleman, a Pensacola Roller Gurl who skates under the name of "Justa Hotmess." "I have three kids. I've been feeling pent-up for a while and I'm just ready to release it," she said. Soon, the runners were charging west on Government Street. Seconds later, the "bull pen" was opened and a streak of helmeted tough-girls carrying plastic weapons were on the chase. (And, in case you're a fast runner, there were "bulls" scattered out along the course, making them impossible to bypass without a lick or two.) Some begged for it. "Is that all you have?'' one man asked while going through a gauntlet of bulls at the finish line. They dug in and swung for the fences. "He's asking for it,'' a couple of bulls screamed. Some folks ran with alcoholic drinks in their hand. Others pushed babies in strollers through the course. Others just walked and didn't try to avoid taking their medicine. Anyone could run for free, but those who paid the $20 fee received a race T-shirt, bandana and access to the after-party. Some proceeds benefited the USO, and many runners stuffed bills into a USO donation box inside Seville Quarter. "It's the best, most fun run in town,'' said Seville Quarter's Nancy Rodriguez, who, as usual for the run, was dressed in a cow costume. "And it's for a good cause." So why aren't you running, Nancy? "I don't even run to the car."