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Here’s What It Feels Like to Get Gored by a Bull

Local author “Buffalo” Bill Hillmann made it through a decade of bull runs in Pamplona unscathed—until he didn’t in 2014. He talked to Chicago about the incident before returning to Spain for this year’s event (July 6).

Photo: istockphoto

“It was surprisingly painless. The sensation was like a pinprick on my inner thigh. As the bull lifted me in the air, it was like I was floating. I started saying to myself that I wasn’t gored, that I’m fine. Then he gathered himself and stood back up, and I came off the horn and fell onto my back. Then he gored me again, under the knee. He seethed, and his horn that was inside my body vibrated and resonated. He looked me right in the eye. I guess he decided to leave me alone, have mercy on me, because he just vanished. The whole thing lasted less than three seconds, but it felt like an eternity. My thigh was this huge bubble, and in the middle of it was an impossibly deep and huge hole. It didn’t get painful until I got to the hospital. I was cracking jokes: ‘I’m fine. It doesn’t even hurt.’ This doctor comes in. He says, ‘Are you ready?’ He sticks his entire finger inside the hole. As it went deeper, the pain got more and more intense. I was screaming louder than I ever had before. It was beyond pain.”

Read more in Hillmann’s new book, Mozos: A Decade Running With the Bulls in Spain (Curbside Splendor, out July 7).

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