Running of the Bulls promises even more fun
By Kyle Mooty
When Running of the Bulls first began in Lockhart, some people were confused, believing the town was trying to become a smaller version of what had long become a popular occurrence in Pamplona, Spain.
“The first year, no one had any idea of what we were talking about,” said Will Rhodes, an original committee member of the event entering its third year. “People were kind of scared to sign up because they didn’t understand what it was. They thought there were going to be bulls running on the square. Once they saw that first year, they were like ‘I want to do this.’ Now, the event is constantly growing.”
Runners can enter the event via athleteguild.com (search for Running of the Bulls). What organizer and fundraiser Alex Worthington expects even more of in Year Three are bulls. In past years, people have dressed as bulls, dressed their pets as bulls, made bulls out of paper mache over wire, turned their bicycles into bulls, as well as other items.
This year’s event has moved to April 22, up from June the previous two years when oppressive heat kept some people from the event.
“One of the biggest things we’ve done this year is try to take advantage of the April/Spring weather,” Rhodes said.” Every year they say the same thing: ‘We loved it, but it was so hot.’”
Among the vendors at the event will be face painters.
The runners, in keeping with the Pamplona tradition, have worn all white with red sashes and are “politely” chased around the .7-mile route.
Austin once had such an event, which Worthington and Rhodes took part in. The Lockhart event is believed to be one of just three in the U.S., but those in New Orleans and Miami have different styles than does Lockhart.
“We want people to be involved and build bulls as well,” Rhodes said. “It’s a fun process and businesses can do it, too.”
All of the proceeds from the event benefit Take Me Home-Advocates for Transport, a non-profit organization that strives to eliminate euthanasia due to lack of space by transporting dogs from over-crowded shelters to no-kill shelters that have adoption waiting lists.
Worthington said last year’s event had 12 bulls and there were already 15 signed up this year.
“Last year was about three times the size of what it was the first year,” Worthington said. “And we’re expecting a lot more people this year, especially since it is in April now… cooler weather.
Each year we’ve added something new to it. This year we’ve got a bullpen where all the bulls are going to be corralled before the run and then Mayor Lew White is going to open the gate when the runners start.”
Participants can pick up packets the evening before from 6-8 p.m. at Pocket Park on Main Street behind the Culinary Room.
On the day of the event, packets can again be picked up from 9-10 a.m. on the west side of the square at the Registration Tent. DJ Island Time (Rhodes) will spin records beginning at 9 a.m. The Lockhart High School Band will then play for 30 minutes before the Running of the Bulls begins at 11 a.m.
A special treat this year will be Croy and the Boys, Ameripolitans’ “Honky Tonk Band of the Year,” performing on stage on the square from noon to 2 p.m.
Kids under 12 run for free. T-shirts. Registration is $25. Registration includes a T-shirt (if available), a bib, and a swag bag. The event will take place rain or shine.
There will be a mechanical bull on the square for all ages. There will also be beer, margaritas, “Bloody Bulls,” water, and soft drinks.
The ROTB committee includes Worthington, Rhodes, Ronda Reagan, Bradley Houseton, Andrea Clayton, Janet Grigar, Vicki Reeves, and Sara Partridge.
There is one food truck (Bird Dogs Eatery) confirmed. Volunteers are still needed for the event.
The music stages will be two-sides, where people can escape heat under the large shade trees at the courthouse.
“Croy and the Boys are amazing,” Rhodes said. “They’re an Austin-based band that is just fantastic.”
Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third for the People’s Choice for Bulls. There will be a secret judge for the Best Built Bull. There will also be raffle items.
Worthington said previous Running of the Bulls have brought people to Lockhart from Austin, San Antonio, Kyle, Buda, Gonzales, San Marcos, Georgetown, and Seguin.
Also, the Farmers Market will still take place on the square, only it will move from the west side to the east side (Commerce Street).