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Running of the Bulls leaves stings, faux carnage

Running of the Bulls leaves stings, faux carnage

PNJ.com

Troy Moon

July 20, 2013

Running of the Bulls leaves stings, faux carnage

 

Crowds brave roller derby girls, weather for run

It was gray, drizzly and ugly Saturday morning in downtown Pensacola, and the city streets were filled with carnage.

Throughout downtown, you could hear the sounds of fast-moving plastic on flabby bottoms, and the pitiful squeals of the vanquished.

But have no fear, because, alas and ole, it was carnival style carnage at the third annual Fiesta de San Fermin en Pensacola Running of the Bulls, a family-friendly event hosted by Seville Quarter.

Unlike the legendary Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, the Pensacola version consists of beautiful beasts with frightening names such as Lady McDeath and Bone Breaker on roller skates hunting white-and-red clad runners through the streets, whacking their prey with club-sized plastic baseball bats, some wielding sturdy bats in each hand.

The 65 red-and-black clad bulls were actually members of area roller derby teams Pensacola Roller Gurlz and the Milton-based Emerald Coast Roller Derby, as well as visiting roller derby skaters from New Orleans, Mobile and other Gulf Coast areas.

Hundreds of runners turned out for the free event, some coming early to taunt the “bulls” as the skaters snorted in the gated bullpen, wisely separated from their future prey.

Allison “Cloverkill” Klingmann, 31, a mild-mannered pre-K teacher by day, fumed and banged her bat in her hands before the run, while jovial runners danced the “Cuban Shuffle“ in front of Seville Quarter, seemingly oblivious to the mayhem to come.

“I’m ready to hit somebody,” she said. She glared and pounded her bat even harder into her hand. She wasn’t kidding. Not a bit.

She and other members of Pensacola Roller Gurlz have been training, some even lifting weights and “hammer pounding” in the workup to the event.

Soon, a whistle blew and hundreds of runners headed west on Government Street, some even pushing baby strollers in front.

Thirty seconds later, another whistle blew, and dozens of hard-skating bulls with horned helmets charged from the gate in pursuit.

Within seconds, the sounds of battle could be heard. WHACK! BOOM! POW! (And whatever “Batman” type sounds you can come up with.)

Soon, the chase was moving north on Palafox, where the stings and gores could be heard from blocks away.

Within minutes, the runners were moving east on Jefferson Street, where a small herd of bulls was hidden behind parked cars awaiting the hopeless flock.

“That’s cheating!” whined one man as two bulls sprung out, whacking him on each butt cheek. The bulls only gore the butt, “the sweet spot,” Cloverkill drooled.

“Come on and take it like a man” teased Reni “Renegade” Johnmeyer, waving her bat at a man who had sneaked onto a sidewalk to avoid her. “Come and get it.”

A few bulls didn’t even whack with bats, instead marking runners with red bingo daubers that left marks resembling blood on shirts and arms and, in some cases, even faces.

“Man, I got hammered,” said 42-year-old Eddie Bushey, a Pensacola architect participating in his first bull run. He rubbed his sore and presumably red rear through his shorts. Red ink marks streamed down his face. “I think they were picking on me.”

Bushey said the Running of the Bulls is another marquee event that makes Pensacola unique and marveled that participation was free.

“Usually I have to pay good money to get beat like that,” he joked.

He was still rubbing his sore butt.

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