Big Easy Rollergirl Joan Cougar Menstrual Cramp—her skate name—speaks from experience. She and other Rollergirls served as the bulls before and will do so again Saturday when thousands of runners in the traditional red and white attire fill the streets of the French Quarter and CBD for the fifth annual Running of the Bulls. The event is part of the San Fermin Nuevo Orleans (SFNO) festival, which replicates and pays homage to El Encierro, or Bull Run in Pamplona, Spain. The run will begin at 8 a.m. at Ernst Café, where sangria, daiquiris, beer, Spanish wine and food will be served. The bulls wearing horned helmets and carrying waffle bats will be trying to whack the runners in the one-mile run.
Sherri Beatrix Skiddo Vol. 18—her skate name—has been skating with Big Easy Rollergirls since 2006 and says she chases runners who aren’t paying attention. She adds that the “thwoonk” sound of the bat is extremely satisfying. According to Joan Cougar Menstrual Cramp, “There is a mass emotion of pent-up energy among the bulls that are getting geared up to hit.”
“The best way to describe the absurdity of girls on skates swinging plastic bats at runners in white clothing?” asks Beatrix Skiddo Vol. 18 rhetorically. ”It can be summed up in the NOLABULLS slogan: ‘¿Porqué no?’ Why not? Only in New Orleans.” She added that the festival truly fills a void of immediate, concentrated satisfaction of doing something crazy, fun, exciting and family friendly.
First-timers are advised to hydrate, not to run too fast, and to have fun. Anybody can run, but there are a few rules: runners can’t touch the bulls; if you go down, stay down; do not stand still; and children under 10 must use the sidewalk.
The event is free and requires no registration. New Orleans’ Rolling Elvi will be making a special appearance at El Encierro, and the afterparty will be at Ernst Café with a live performance from Vivaz. For more information or to make a donation to the Bulls, go to NolaBulls.com.