Adrenaline junkies can experience Pamplona without a passport this weekend in Cave Creek, Ariz., at the fourth U.S. running of the bulls, a long-dormant event that founder Phil Immordino hopes will start a stampede across the country. "My plan is to turn this into the next extreme sport in America," says Immordino, 55, a Phoenix native who held bull runs in Mesquite, Nev., in 1998 and '99 and in Scottsdale in 2002, before insurance costs rose too sharply to continue.
This is an article from the Oct. 17, 2011 issue
Again profitable after being moved to private land, the event will feature nine runs held Friday through Sunday. The bold and the brainless can pay $25--$35 a pop to outrun 21 bulls on a fenced-in quarter-mile dirt track with safety exits every 100 feet. Rodeo clowns will be on hand, while wranglers with lassos trail on horseback.
"In Spain the animals bunch up together—it can be hard to escape—but we make it more like a Disneyland ride," says Immordino, who usually focuses on a more genteel sport as president of the Golf Tournament Association of America. Still, he adds, runners "have to sign over their life, so they can't sue anybody for any reason."
Is it worth the risk? Immordino ran in '99 and missed being gored by mere inches. "Talk about a rush," he says.