This Texas Bullfighter Says Running Of The Bulls Is Risky, But Worth It

After recent injuries in this year’s annual Pamplona Bull Run, a Texas five-time world champion bullrider discusses the safest protocols for how to run with the bulls.

By Brenda SalinasJuly 8, 2015 10:58 am

The running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain has become an internationally-known event. Yesterday, two Americas and a British person were seriously injured and eight others were hurt while thousands of people ran alongside fighting bulls in the first bull run at the San Fermin Festival. The festival will go on for eight more days with a daily running of the bulls.

Rob Smets, five-time world champion bullrider, talks to Texas Standard about how to participate in the festivities and minimize getting hurt. He lives just outside of Poteet, Texas and is in the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fort Worth.

On how to properly run with bulls:

“Don’t start trying to run straight away. What we teach when I put on bullfighting schools is stay close to the bull. You want to run and maneuver it [by] going around them in a tight area.”

On bull running injuries:

“Unfortunately, in 1985 a bull caught me jumping him in Salt Lake City, and I had a bull run a horn in me four-and-a-half inches to the base of my spine, so I do understand the goring and the feeling. If by chance the goring doesn’t kill you, the biggest problem with being gored is [that] the bull’s horn is so dirty and carries so much disease and dirt that [there] is the risk of infection.”

On whether running with bulls is worth the risk:

“You can’t match that adrenaline rush. You can’t pay for that feeling. That near misses and the adrenaline when everything is working right, you know, it’s second to none.”