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by Tumbleweed Smith

Jim Runge's "Running of the Bull" Festival in Eldorado is a big breakthrough for him. Newspapers, magazines and television stations all across Texas and beyond are planning to cover this year's event slated for July 24 & 25 around Eldorado's courthouse square.

The festival follows the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain by a few days. But, as Runge says, "in our festival, entrants are judged on who can run their mouth with the most bull...in several categories."

For years, Runge has staged some of the most unique events ever to occur in the Lone Star State. But hardly anybody noticed. Two years ago Jim took up residence in his hometown of Eldorado and started the EOBOC, the Eldorado Olympic Bid Organizing Committee, .a loose knit organization to serve as the vehicle for a tongue-in-cheek bid on the winter games of2014 and the summer games of 2016. Jim says the underlying goal is the revitalization of the visibility and spirit of this once vibrant village in the middle of nowhere with numerous offbeat stunts, displays, spoofs, skits, pranks, eccentric attractions and other roadside shenanigans.

He stages the Elgoatarod, a takeoff on the Ididarod dog sled race in Alaska. At the Elgoatarod, goats pull carts around the courthouse square. The Tagoo Festival revolves around a mysterious bird that is found only to Eldorado. He created a hysterical district near downtown with all sorts of spoofs and plays on words. The district has a very rare albino bat colony.

In the past, Runge has staged yarn and weaving festivals in McKinney and a llama kissing contest in Fredericksburg. He held an April Fool's day event in Art, Texas.

But the Running of the Bull is becoming a Texas festival landmark. Now, only in its second year, requests for press credentials have come from the San Antonio Express News, Houston Chronicle, Southern Living, Texas Monthly, Saveur Magazine in New York City, Texas Co-Op Power and severalTV stations including WFAA in Dallas.

Last year's inaugural event drew some formidable talent: Dennis Gaines, a national award winning cowboy poet, a clogging group from San Angelo that performed in "heifer outfits" and forty vendors.

The event features the Biggest Lie Contest (Cock & Bull), musical routines, animal acts, impersonations, costuming, skits and stunts, extemporaneous speaking, legal mumbo jumbo, (Flim Flam), the longest talker without stopping, salesmanship (medicine shows, autos), tongue twisters, backwards talk, fastest talker, Burma Shave, cowboy poetry, rhyming poetry, double talk/mangled English, parodies, punning, shaggy dog stories (long story with twisted punch line) and true personal stories.

Judges include western novelist Elmer Kelton, Kathy Straach of the Dallas Morning News, Doug Rogers of Ghostlight Productions and others. Contact Runge at shootthebull@hotmail.com or (325) 853-2434.

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