(MP) - As the final day of the San Fermin Festival comes to its raucous conclusion of fireworks, drunken debauchery, and general lack of common sense, one thing remains abundantly clear after this nine-day orgy of celebration: Bulls will kill you if drunkenly taunted. So, why would anyone want to risk their lives running in front of a pack of angry bulls? Locally, the festival of San Fermín in the city of Pamplona (Navarre, Spain) is held in honor of Saint Fermin. It is a deeply rooted celebration dating back to at least the 15th century. Internationally, it has become a test of male bravado, a summer vacation for drunken daredevils, and a final resting place for some unathletic adrenalin junkies.
“Oh, man, it was sick!” states Brandon Mavis, a U.S. celebutante best known for his reality show So Rich, who has come to Pamplona just for the event, “it’s like a 24-hour party here! I was still wasted, man. Then this huge firework exploded, the bulls were let loose. Dude, I sobered up quick. What a rush.”
Mavis is the quintessential tourist that comes to this event for no other reason than a reckless desire to have fun. When Ernest Hemingway detailed a pilgrimage to Pamplona in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, the festival's notoriety spread worldwide and tourists have flocked to northern Spain ever since seeking the thrill of being chased by cattle for a half-mile, known as the encierro, and escape to tell the tale afterwards.
“Ernest who?” questions Mavis, “I don’t know, bro, don’t read much Spanish writers, my Spanish isn’t so good; but my buddy went to a bachelor party here, and he said it was f-in’ sickles, man. Said it’s like a manly right of passage, and when you finish, chicks everywhere just get nuts and fuck. Like you’re a gladiator or something.”
Women are traditionally discouraged from taking part in the encierro, however we witnessed some very untraditional runners in the mix.
“It’s about times some meat started chasin’ me for a change,” explained New Jersey born Jeneane Menthol, who was on vacation with her fiancé in Barcelona, but decided to come up for the festivities, “actually, it stunks of stale beer and urines around here. Then this little Mexican yelled ‘The bulls are coming’ and I saw them. Oh my Gawd, I almost wet my pants. I fell, and I was tolds to just stay down, and I just let them pass me. I think I saw someones get a bull horn up his ass. I must have been retarded to try something like this.”
The rectal goring has yet to be verified, but what has been is that this year’s fiesta has been the bloodiest in years. In the first goring death at Spain's running of the bulls since 1995 (15 people have been killed since record-keeping began in 1924), a 27-year-old was killed Friday after a bull became separated from the pack. In addition, a 61-year-old American was struck in the chest, and is now suffering from internal bleeding; a London man of 20 was also taken to hospital after being gored in the leg; and two other runners were gored and seven more treated for other injuries. This bloody week now culminates with the Pobre de mí - the last official event of the fiesta. The people of Pamplona, with candles in hand, converge on City Hall Square to say goodbye to the fiesta and immediately start the countdown for the following year's San Fermines! The mayor officially 'closes' the fiesta and calls on everyone to come back for more fun next year.
“Hell yea, I’ll be back,” exclaims Mavis, “you play, you pay. Can’t be known as a sick-fuck, if you don’t do sick-fuck shit, you know? Dude, I’m officially a sick-fuck runner!”
Like Mavis, many around the world that did live to tell about their adventure will be back to stumble in front of bulls and steers as they’re marched to meet their end in the bullring. Death has never stopped the festivities before, and certainly won’t hinder the countdown to next year. But it should be unmistakably clear, that if you mess with the bull, you do indeed get the horns – get them in the throat, in the leg, perhaps even in the anus.
“No ways! Never again,” states Ms. Menthol, “It was like a bunch of silly boys, dodging cars. Those Mexicans are crazy!”