The company holding a series of runs nationwide hopes to find a different venue after safety concerns caused the racetrack to back out.
The San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, has inspired plans for bull runs in 10 U.S. cities. Although 500 people had already registered for a Canterbury Park event in May 2014, the board was worried about liability for the guests if a bull escaped into the crowd like one did at the Dakota County Fair last week, Canterbury spokesman Jeff Maday said Thursday.
There won’t be a Great Bull Run at Canterbury Park in Shakopee next year after all, the park’s board of directors decided this week.
Although 500 people had already registered for the event next May, the board was worried about liability for the guests if a bull escaped into the crowd like one did at the Dakota County Fair last week, Canterbury spokesman Jeff Maday said Thursday.
Promoters of the Great Bull Run had a tentative agreement to hold the event at Canterbury, but there was no signed contract, Maday said.
“We were going to go to the Atlanta one — I think that’s in late August or early September — to see how it works,” Maday said. But directors discussed it at length on Monday and decided they just weren’t comfortable with the risk, he said.
The Great Bull Run LLC recently announced that it will hold events inspired by the annual Pamplona, Spain, running of the bulls in 10 locations around the United States over the next year. In the events, runners will navigate a quarter-mile route lined with nooks and scalable fences in case they need to evade the bulls.
The first American event will take place Aug. 24 in Richmond, Va.
Organizers said they will partner with ranches to provide bulls, which won’t be as aggressive as those in the Spanish event, which draws 20,000 runners every summer and has reported 15 deaths in its 102 years.
At Canterbury, the bull that escaped from the grandstand at the Dakota County Fair on Aug. 7 figured prominently into the discussion, Maday said. Nine people, including a sheriff’s deputy, were injured at the fairgrounds in Farmington as the bull panicked and fled through the crowd. The next day, the owners of the bull took it to a slaughterhouse.
Although participants who signed up would have been required to sign a liability waiver, the Canterbury board was concerned about spectators who could be injured.
“The right thing to do is to let the vendor know and let them find another place in the Twin Cities,” Maday said. “Hopefully the promoters will find another place.”
Rob Dickens, chief operating officer of the Great Bull Run, said he is “very confident we will be able to find a new venue soon” for the event.
If not, he said, he’ll refund the entrance fee to the 40 or so people who have already paid.
Venues shouldn’t have any worries about safety, Dickens said. The event uses two layers of fencing — one to keep the bulls in and the other to keep the spectators out. He added, “We’re partnered with a rodeo company that’s been in business for 60 years.”
Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284