Bulls will no longer run in Mesquite

LAS VEGAS - They still trample through the streets of Pamplona, Spain, but the bulls of the West will no longer run in Nevada.

The promoter of the Mesquite bull run - the first ever held in the United States - said Friday he's taking his bulls and running somewhere else.

Specifically either to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Ariz., or San Diego.

Phoenix-area promoter Phil Immordino said he had no plans to run the bulls in the small community 80 miles north of Las Vegas this month because of last year's poor turnout.

That's despite the Mesquite Resort Association kicking in $100,000 the past two Julys to help sponsor the event.

''We pretty much decided we weren't going to do it again (in Mesquite) in the fall of 1999,'' Immordino said, adding that Virginia City's attempts to attract the event fell through due to a lack of sponsorship.

The first year the event attracted 700 runners and 10,000 spectators to the town of 15,000 residents on the Arizona border. But last year fewer than 7,000 total showed up to watch the exhibition of machismo.

Immordino blames the community's remoteness and the summer heat of the desert.

''It's off the beaten path,'' he said. ''People weren't motivated to come all that way.''

Mesquite officials considered holding their own running of the bulls event, but found an attorney for Immordino has registered just about every possible name the chamber might use to advertise such an event, according to Kirk Lee, president of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce and a member of the resort association.

Two years ago, Immordino thought Mesquite was the perfect place for an Americanized version of Spain's running of the bulls, a 400-year tradition.

Town casinos backed the event, no one was injured and Immordino found himself thrown in jail for a permit violation. Despite all the media coverage the event and the subsequent arrest received, Immordino said the event never turned a profit.

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