US citizen Brent Cropper, 29, was severely gored twice by a bull during the Fiestas de Nosara, an annual festival in the northwestern province of Guanacaste on Saturday night (February 5). EMTs escorted Cropper out of the ring with serious injuries to the neck and abdomen; the bull missed his jugular by inches.
COMMENT: Since the attack, Cropper has undergone two major surgeries and is recovering at the Hospital de la Anexión in Nicoya.
Unlike bullfights elsewhere, in Costa Rica, the bulls are never slain. In fact, in most cases the bulls are about the only ones that get away without injuries. The best way to describe Costa Rican-style bullfights is that it is a "running of the bulls" in an enclosed arena, typical of where a traditional bullfight might occur.
Conversely, the Running of the Bulls is a practice that involves running in front of a small group of bulls that have been let loose, on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town's streets.
The most famous running of the bulls is that of the seven-day festival of Sanfermines in honor of San Fermín in Pamplona, although they are held in towns and villages across Spain, Portugal, and in some cities in Mexico. Unlike bullfights, which are performed by professionals, anyone older than 18 may participate.
Roughly 200-300 people are injured every year in Pamplona, yet some victims of the festival will never walk again. Unfortunately, too much beer or sangria can easily embolden even the faint of heart to run with the bulls.
In many respect, Clint Eastwood's memorable line in movies, "Do you feel lucky?" is quite applicable to any close encounter with a bull of any nationality.