The Great Bull Run of 2014

20140621_123045Matt Backhaus can be summed up by his signature phrase “I’ll try anything twice.”

So when he asked me to join in him in an event titled “The Great Bull Run”, I didn’t really think anything of it. I was not the least bit surprised.

In fact, I was almost a little offended. I pride myself on knowing about all the quirky, awesome, local Minneapolis events, so when he discovered this before me, I was a little peeved.

I enthusiastically accepted.

And then I read the event description. “Face the adrenaline rush of a lifetime as you run beside 1,500-pound bulls stampeding down a quarter-mile course, then celebrate with thousands of thrill-seekers in a massive, day-long festival that also features our insane tomato food fight, Tomato Royale!”

Festival? I can get down with that. 1,500 pound bulls, and a tomato food fight that requires protective eyewear? Eh, not so much.

But Matt asked me. And I didn’t really have a good reason to say no (see previous blog post about trying new things). I’ll admit, this wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I said “I always want to take new adventures,” but I was certain it would make for a killer story.

20140621_115453And apparently the local NBC news station thought so too.

A couple days before the run, a message went out to the Great Bull Run participants, stating that NBC was looking for local runners to interview. On a whim, I sent a two sentence email: I am running with the bulls. And I am not camera shy.” Three hours later I was being interviewed outside my boss’s window. Apparently I didn’t really fit the “Bull Runner” stereotype, which made for an interesting twist to the story. You can see the video in all it’s glory below. Including an excellent clip of me laughing at my own joke in typical Melissa fashion.

Until this point, I hadn’t really publicized my weekend intentions. Not even to my parents. But obviously I wanted to share my 15 minutes of fame – and that’s when the calls and emails came flooding in.



“Melissa, please don’t do this. It is dangerous.”

I even got concern from strangers. One brave gentleman Facebook messaged me and said “I saw you on the news. You’re kinda cute. If you survive, we should get drinks. Sorry if this is creepy.”

Yes. Yes, this is creepy.bull 4

And so the big day of the event arrived. I enjoy a good cup of coffee before I risk being gored by an animal, so I headed down to the local coffee shop. In typical Minneapolis Nice fashion, my barista asked me what my Saturday plans were. Ironically, I just happened to be at Bull Run Coffee. When I responded  with “running with the bulls” I think she thought I was making a joke.

Nope. No joke. Actually running with bulls. And sorry I came here and made things super awkward for all parties involved…

The Great Bull Run certainly delivered in festival-atmosphere. Country music, Bud Light, Foam Pits, mechanical bulls, absurd costumes (Fred Flintstone, fanny packs, “Insert Horn Here” shirts, tutus), and of course: muscular, non-castrated, male bovines.

You’re herded into the arena (pun intended), and you’re handed your red bandana. You say a gimmicky chant about honoring the bulls and Ole and stuff, and then they lock the red gates. And then the bulls come out in four waves of seven. And you run.

It looks something like this:

bull 1

bull 2





Six minutes later it was over. And all we got were a bunch of bull selfies (see what I did there?). And a lot of bragging rights. And my name on a PETA hit list. And some minor street cred. And a good story for the bars that night. And a great topic for this blog post.

bull 3

Oh, and my first TV appearance. Not how I originally envisioned my 15 minutes of fame, but I’ll take what I can get.

Worth it? Most definitely. And my co workers have spared me no expense since.




About Melissa Faulkner

1. If I blog, someone will eventually discover me. 2. If someone eventually discovers me, I will become rich and famous. 3. If I blog, I will become rich and famous. Follow me for shorter, daily doses! @melisslyss
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