By now, you've likely heard of Bullrun, the high-action reality TV series on SPEED that pits 12 lucky vehicles and their owners against each other for risk-filled challenges, intimidating eliminations, $200,000 in cash and prizes, and instant celebrity status. Based on the international rally of the same name and hosted by wrestling great and car buff Bill Goldberg, Bullrun follows these teams, driving everything from Corvettes to Ferraris to a VW microbus, across 3,500 miles of the southwestern United States in search of fame and fortune.
"Bullrun is a perfect fit for SPEED viewers," the network's SVP of Programming Steve Craddock told VETTE. "It has intense competition, incredible rides, spectacular stunts, and a cast of characters willing to do whatever it takes to win and Goldberg is the perfect ringleader for this over-the-top, car lover's competition."
This year, Bullrun has something even more exciting for Corvette enthusiasts: an '01 Vette driven by two self-proclaimed Hollywood freaks, Elvis Strange and Steve McCabe, who push the car to its limits while keeping the cast and crew in stitches with their wild antics and unique sense of humor.
In two exclusive interviews, we first spoke with Bullrun Executive Producer Andrew Duncan to find out what the show is all about. Then, we talked to Strange and McCabe to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make the final cut.
Vette Magazine: What's your involvement with Bullrun?
Andrew Duncan: I'm the founder/owner of Bullrun and the Bullrun Rally and creator/executive producer of the reality TV show, alongside my co-founder David Green. [We] do everything, from creating the show to making the tea.
VM: Please describe Bullrun. When was it conceived, how long has it run, and is it still ongoing?
AD: We conceived Bullrun back in 2004 as an annual, live-event/seven-day road rally. The idea was to create a fun, invitation-only event in the U.S. that involved approximately 100 cars of all kinds and people from around the world and all walks of life. We think of it as a kind of rolling automotive party. It has run each year since 2004 as a live event. Over the seven days, we go to a different city every night, and drivers only find out where they're going the same day. Our next live event, in July 2009, runs from New York to Austin, Texas. This event is also a TV show, but we've never aired it in the U.S. It's sold in 96 countries around the world under the title Cops, Cars and Superstars. It's in its sixth season.
VM: When was Bullrun developed for TV, and what are the similarities between the live event and the TV series?
AD: We started developing the reality-show version of the live event in 2006. The current version of the show is actually very close to the live event in terms of the format. We try to keep the format reasonably straightforward and true to the live event, so every team only learns its destination each day, and it has to navigate two or three checkpoints each day before it finishes.
The reality show puts the bottom three teams-based on total time from the day's drive-into a big "we'll probably destroy your car if you get this wrong" challenge. We don't do challenges this extreme in the live event, but we hire out race tracks and other sites to do other purely speed-based challenges.
Another major difference is that in the reality-show, teams aren't allowed to use any electronic equipment at all-GPS, cell phones, laptops, and so on.