Tucson Citizen: Running of the Bulls USA went off without a hitch Saturday in Cave Creek.
The event is touted as a safer version of the famous annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, immortalized by Ernest Hemingway in his novel “The Sun Also Rises.” Similar events have been held in Scottsdale and Mesquite, Nev.
Hundreds of daredevils came ready to run in a variety of costumes. Some had red bull’s-eyes painted on their backs, some wore red-and-white Spanish garb and others donned psychedelic wigs. All were ready to get their thrill on, and all were energized once they crossed the finish line.
As the event, which (progressed toward its halfway point Saturday), nobody had been injured, according to medical officials on site.
John Damasco, a Peoria resident and registered nurse at Arrowhead Hospital in Glendale, created his own T-shirt with his “bucket list” on the back, a short list of all the things he’d like to do before he dies. Saturday, he checked off item No. 12.
He said that when the starting gun went off, he knew the bulls would quickly make up the roughly 75-foot gap from the runners’ starting line.
“First you saw clouds of dirt, then the horns and then the bulls’ faces,” he said.
Damasco’s sister, wife and two children cheered him on from the sidelines of the quarter-mile track. Damasco said he had to persuade his wife, Sue, to let him run alongside more than 20 1,500-pound bulls. He said he was able to win her over because the event uses rodeo bulls, which are tamer and have duller horns than their Pamplona counterparts.
“He loves thrills, and he assured me that this is not like the bull run in Spain,” Sue Damasco said.
Leading up to the event, Cave Creek officials had received dozens of letters in opposition to the bull run, with some people planning to boycott the town. About 2,000 signatures have been gathered online protesting the event. Opponents say the bull run is harmful to the animals and could cause safety problems. Protesters were nowhere to be seen in Cave Creek on Saturday.
Phoenix resident Dean Lambrose survived the run and said that safety isn’t as big an issue as some people think. Lambrose received a rodeo scholarship to Weber State University in Utah.
“This is rodeo stuff,” he said. “These bulls are around humans all day long. They’re pretty domesticated. The traditional theory of running with the bulls has to do with running with them and alongside them. It’s when you start tormenting them that they start to get aggressive."
“This is a good thing. And it’s entertaining.”
|Stefan Ramin and Heike Dorsch|
Stefan Ramin, 40, had been sailing around the world for the past three years with his girlfriend, Heike Dorsch, when he stopped on Nuku Hiva in the Marquesa islands in mid-September.
Ramin, a native of Hamburg, went on a hike into the jungle earlier this month with a local goat hunter, Henri Haiti, according to Radio New Zealand International.
But Haiti returned alone, telling Dorsch that Ramin was hurt. “There’s been an accident. He needs help,” she quoted him as saying.
When Dorsch, 37, became alarmed and decided to get the police, Haiti tied her to a tree, sexually assaulted her and vanished, according to the newspaper La Depeche de Tahiti.
Dorsch freed herself and alerted authorities, who began an intensive search in the interior of the island, best known as a site from the reality TV show “Survivor.”
After a week of scouring the jungle, police found a campfire on Saturday with human remains that they suspect came from a body that was hacked to pieces and burned. They also said there were indications the body belonged to Ramin.
Police are awaiting DNA tests conducted in Paris for confirmation, and the results are not expected for several weeks.
In addition, a jawbone with prosthetic teeth, melted metal which could come from fillings, and burnt clothing were found. Reports differ as to whether they were found at the campfire or in a nearby valley.
Meanwhile, army officers have begun a search for Haiti, who is missing.
The island, which was the setting for two novels by “Moby-Dick” author Herman Melville, is believed to have a history of cannibalism -- but there are no confirmed instances of it in the last century.
Residents of the island, with a population of approximately 2,000, said the case is baffling.
“No one can believe what has happened,” deputy island mayor Deborah Kimitete said. “This has never happened before. This is the first time, and it’s horrible.”
She added that locals are upset with the attention.
“We do not like headlines,” she said.
Ramin and Dorsch, both economists, reportedly planned to wind up their odyssey in New Zealand next year. In a Facebook post dated Oct. 9, Ramin indicated he would leave Nuku Hiva for the nearby Tuamotu atolls. A friend, Martina Luttgen, replied, “I am stunned and hope for a miracle.”