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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8065 Voice
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of May 8 - 14, 2002


Beef, it’s in your 
front yard

Rodeo bull races through 
downtown Hailey

Express Staff Writer

Hailey’s Atkinsons’ Market attracted some big beef Sunday afternoon after a bull hurdled a fence at the Hailey Rodeo Grounds and charged into downtown Hailey.

He was an unexpected feature of the Cinco de Mayo rodeo.

Before his escape, El Gato did his best to throw Boone Church from his back, but the cowboy held on until the eight second buzzer. Free of his mount, El Gato bounded over a six-foot fence to freedom. Photo by Willy Cook

After being ridden the required eight seconds by Boone Church, "El Gato" ran for a six-foot gate and cleared it by two feet at about 3 p.m.

Within seconds, cowboys and cowgirls set out on foot and in pickup trucks to catch him.

Units from the Idaho State Police, the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office and the Hailey Police Department also quickly responded to the call about the rampaging bull.

Bellevue veterinarian Steve Fairbrother herded El Gato through the Atkinsons’ parking lot with his white pickup truck.

"He wouldn’t turn," Fairbrother said. "I kept getting a little ahead of him and turning my truck in front of him, but he wouldn’t turn with me."

Fairbrother lost his passenger side mirror during one of these turning maneuvers when the bull gored his truck.

From Atkinsons’, El Gato headed north to Carbonate Street and then east to the bike path.

By then, the only route left open to him was south along the bike path.

He got as far as Chestnut Street when Fairbrother caught up with him again.

After the escape, El Gato, hemmed in by pursuers, considers jumping another fence before racing south along the bike path. He made it as far as Chestnut Street before being lassoed. Photo by Willy Cook


This time Fairbrother had Troy Juker with him, and Juker lassoed the bull from the back of the pickup.

Fairbrother and Juker led the reluctant El Gato a couple of blocks to an awaiting trailer, but not before the bull gored a car parked at Roberta McKercher Park and charged the back of Fairbrother’s truck.

After his rampage, El Gato may be known by a new name.

Someone asked Juker the bull’s name at the beginning of the chase.

Not knowing it, Juker just said, "Loose."


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.