The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

July 13, 2012

Hoping for bullish trend: Running of the Bulls part of Third Thursday

JOPLIN, Mo. — Shaun Steele can’t resist: If someone asks him whether the Running of the Bulls event uses real bulls, it takes him a while to get to the truth.

“Quite a few think we use real bulls,” Steele said. “I lead them on for a little bit, let them think what they want, then I break the news that we use roller derby girls.”

The bulls are ready to run Thursday as part of Third Thursday events. As part of the run, members of the Mo-Kan Roller Girlz add horns to their costumes and arm themselves with foam bats and other relatively safe weapons. Giving runners a head start, they skate after the runners and get a few whacks in.

The event is modeled after the famous San Fermin Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain. Steele has been to that event twice, and last year introduced a similar run as a fundraiser for St. Mary’s Elementary School.

Last year’s event, held in October, had more than 50 runners dressed in red and white. Steele said he hopes for more than 200 this year, and moved the run to a July date that more closely matches when the San Fermin festival is held.

And if enough join, the event might get big enough to run as a standalone festival, he said.

“If this gets big enough, I’d like to make it into an actual festival, set to coincide (with San Fermin),” Steele said. “I’d like to do a weekend full of events.”

This year’s event will raise money for Ronald McDonald House and Joplin Area Catholic Schools.

Running costs $10; runners are required to wear red and white clothes and appropriate footwear.

Prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed individual, group and family and others.

The run begins at 8 p.m., and registration starts at 5 p.m. The run will begin outside of Club 609, located at 609 S. Main St. Details: joplinbulls.com.

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