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Buck up: Tempe to host first annual ‘Running of the Bulls’ roller derby

(Facebook Photo)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Everyone, look out: The bulls will be running loose in downtown Tempe.

(OK, not actual bulls like in Pamplona, Spain, but “roller-bulls.”)

In the first annual San Fermin de Tempe, roller derby girls from across the Valley will strap on a pair of horns, arm themselves with Nerf ball bats and chase hundreds of runners through the streets of Tempe on Saturday afternoon.

The race will kick off near Seventh Street and Mill Avenue, continue to Forest Avenue, Sixth Street and reach the finish line at Centerpoint Courtyard.

Event organizer Chad Wilford said one of the toughest parts of the course is the “gauntlet” right before the finish line, where 15 roller derby girls with bats will be lined up on each side of the runners.

“You gotta run between them and you get wacked on the butt the whole time you’re running back through,” he said.

Runners will be provided with a race t-shirt, a red bandana and a red sash and are encouraged to wear white pants or their own costume.

Wilford said the money raised will support local roller derby leagues.

“The roller derby leagues are all nonprofit organizations that give back to the community,” he said. “Through this event, we’re able to raise money for the roller derby leagues so that they can continue to do their community outreach that they do.”

Wilford said similar events have been held in New Orleans for the past nine years, and they’ve grown from 200 participants the first year to around 17,000 this past summer.

The race will cost $25. Check-in will be held between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Special ceremonies and an after-party will also be on tap.

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