How to Run With the Bulls: Pastores

Don't even think about touching that bull

Jun 25, 2012
Outside Magazine
Bull stuck in La Curva

A pastor and runner try to dislodge a stuck bull in the curve leading up to Estafeta.    Photo: Jim Hollander

These guys are like the bull’s little, green-shirted ninja bodyguards. They carry long, elastic willow canes that draw blood in bright, explosive patterns.

Beginners: If you think it will be a lot of fun to run up, grab a steer’s tail and pull on it for no reason, then you are asking for trouble. A pastor ran up beside someone who tried this last year, swung with all his might and broke his cane across the man’s nose. A huge gash ripped across it and gushed blood onto the stones. If you so much as touch an animal during the run (that includes swatting it with a newspaper) the pastor will react promptly and without mercy.

Intermediates: Don’t touch and don’t break the pastores line if they’re halting runners due to a suelto or you’ll end up another notch on their willow cane.

Experts: The pastor's job with a suelto is to keep the crowd in the street back. It’s your duty to help lure the suelto to the corrals.

Filed To: Adventure, Events, Culture, Spain