Bull Pulling – 4

Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.


Some of the strong bull pullers such as Andoni Perurena from Navarre don’t bother with the wrestling technique; they just grab the bull by the horns and shake the animal’s head around so the bull can feel how strong the person is and acts more meekly as a result. This works with some bulls but others are antagonized into trying to toss their puller and this when some goring can occur.

Bull Pulling started in the 1750s and some of the stories from the first few years are quite remarkable. In 1753 Pedro Zabala a contestant in the 151 – 250 kg bull category carried his animal for the last 500 metres of the race because it had developed a limp. In 1766 Fernando Mendizabal felled his bull with a left hook after it had tried to gore him; he then dragged the dazed animal 1000 metres to claim first prize in that category. After this event the rules were changed to state that the bull must be fully conscious during the entire race.

In 1772 Inaki Arrieta hurt his right hand when wrestling the bull to the ground yet still pulled the 350kg animal to the finish line with his left hand. Inaki was one of the greatest stone lifters of all time in the Basque Country and so he was used to handling large weights with relative ease. It was said that Inaki had a very hypnotic stare and so the animal might have been mesmerized during the pull but hypnosis isn’t outlawed and the result stood.


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