June 1, 2001, Jefferson City, Missouri: The City is ready to unleash it’s new event, inspired by the time-honored, world-famous "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, Spain. The first annual Running of the Pit-Bulls will be held in downtown Jefferson City on Thursday the 7th of June. Set to begin at 5:00pm and culminate in a dash up Broadway, the sure-to-be-thrilling race will herald the beginning of the Downtown Association’s Twilight Festivals.
Sponsors–who include the Jeff City Vicious Dog Owners Association, Dakota Coffee Shop, Sub Shop, Callaway County National Bank, KPLA, Tito’s Pizza, Artis's Tatoo Parlor, Jeff City Track Club, and the University of Missouri’s Sigma Chi chapter–hope to attract a large and diverse crowd. There will be something for everyone, as residents will have the opportunity to showcase their running skills, display a distinguished dog, or simply be a member of the audience, viewing a wonderful competition between man and beast.
"We really expect it to be a community event," Head of Marketing at Callaway County National Bank, Mary Anderson, said, "so we decided it was important for the bank to sponsor it in our continued role as a community leader." Anderson then added, "on a side note, I’ve been to Spain before, and while I didn’t get to see the running of the bulls, I did visit Pamplona, and you could just feel the energy there. I’m thrilled to think that Jeff City will develop such a rich tradition."
Murray Snodgrass, Vice President of the vicious dog owners, also expressed optimism about the race. "My dog is going to tear somebody’s ass up," he predicted happily. "I been training him for a long time, and he rip the shit out of tires and old furniture and all kind o shit, so no little, scrawny runnin’ dude gonna stand a chance."
The race will begin at the corner of Rogers and Providence, where the dogs will be released. Flanked by cheering crowds protected behind wooden barricades, the runners will lead the dogs down Providence until they reach Broadway. "There the most exciting portion of the race–we anticipate–will take place," Jeff City Track Club president Rick Schelfer explained, "because the runners and dogs will have to turn a sharp corner and head up Broadway on an uphill grade. It’s going to really test the runners’ skill."
Chazz "Ridmeister" Riddick of Sigma Chi reported that he and some of his fraternity brothers plan on being at the corner to cheer the dogs on. "We’re gonna have a keg or two, man, and we’re gonna, like, spray down the street with water so it’s all slick and shit, and those guys are gonna be all falling on their asses and shit. It’s gonna rock!" Riddick nodded happily a few times before added, "that’s how they do it over in France or wherever."
Craig "The Meat" Hayes, a fellow member of Sigma Chi has a vested interest in watching the race. "My prize rottweiler is going to be running," he said proudly. "Everybody’s talking about the pit bulls, but I’m telling you, dog, don’t be counting out the rotts. My Tetra is a hundred-and–twenty pounds of pure mayhem, know what I’m saying."
While the City has vowed to enforce its open container law–which many people fear will hinder the drunken spirit of the audience–refreshments other than alcohol will be readily available. Tito’s will be selling pizza by the slice on the 7th and 10th street corners of Broadway; complimentary slices will also be given to surviving racers. In addition, Dakota Coffee shop will be giving out free samples of its new "Party Blend" product, which the management describes as "fortified with extra caffeine".
Savannah McCree, a frequent patron of Dakota, reported that the "Party Blend" is so strong that, "...they’re not going to need alcohol to get juiced for the run." Adding a personal anecdote as evidence, McCree recalled the first time she’d sampled the blend. "I had three cups before a rave a few weeks ago," she said, "and I ran all the way to the party afterward. It was six miles, and I did it in about twenty-three minutes and then danced for six hours straight!" Asked if she planned on running in the event, McCree answered, "oh no, but I’m going to take my daughter, Serendipity, to watch. She just loves animals."
Not everyone in the community is happy about the new event, though. Clark Hurt and PeaceProtectors plan a protest of the event. "We expect to be joined by concerned citizens, as well as some staff from the Human Society, to protest this egregious display of cruelty toward animals," Hurt said from his business, The Peace Palace. The protest will include posters showing victims of dog attacks and signs with various catchy-yet-meaningful slogans.
The guys from Sigma Chi seem to speak for the majority on the issue, and they remain undaunted by criticism. "Yeah, that Hurt guy’s a freak," Riddick responded when told of the planned protest. "I saw him protesting the freakin’ Memorial Day parade, for Christ’s sake. I mean, what is he, a commie?"
"No shit," Hayes added. "Doesn’t matter to me, though. After Tetra’s mauled a few runners, maybe I’ll let her cool down by chewing on a couple hippy asses." The two concluded the interview with a high-five.