Hyperlocal Site Rides Phallic Bull Scoop

National media picks up - twice - on crazy Utah story broken by St. George News.

StGeorgeNewsLogoBefore the current second wave of national media attention, the story of a controversial restaurant sign in Hurricane City, Utah was the purview of website St. George News.

Assistant editor Kimberly Scott was first to report the story on March 19. Five days after Barista’s restaurant owner Stephen Ward hoisted up high above his establishment a giant copper bull purchased for $130,000 in Las Vegas, angering the community with the artwork’s over-sized genitalia and the idea that the appendage was dangling across the street from a high school.

Scott followed late last week with a second dispatch, confirming the offensive portion of the sculpture had been snipped. “The famous weenie’s gone!” Ward told Scott.

Stories like this don’t come along too often for any news outlet, let alone one serving the smaller communities of southern Utah. Below are just a few more examples of the quotable comments culled by Scott from the Barista’s owner.

Ward, on the anger over the sign being reflective of other community issues: “If I put Pinocchio up there, its nose would be too big. It’s me. It’s me. It’s not the bull. It’s not the restaurant. They don’t like me.”

Ward, on his decision to modify the bull: “It has nothing to do with the city, at all. I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to have that penis taken off, so you can see more of the beautiful…’ I love the joints and the plate work, instead of that atrocious party hat. It was so stupid, because it [the genitalia] looks like a party hat.”

Ward, on city officials claiming they only saw a three-inch drawing of the sculpture before it was installed: “When they need to lie, they lie; and when they don’t, they don’t; so, whatever’s convenient for them works for them just fine. I mean, they lied. It [sculpture] was bolted to the parking lot for three weeks. Every person in this city saw it. It was bolted right there for three weeks to the black top.”

The Barista’s owner was able to produce and show to the St. George News a saved email from one city official, praising the statue after having viewed it in the parking lot. At press time, the restaurant website had crashed due to all the incoming Web traffic. We can only imagine how good a month March will turn out to be for the St. George News, which is in its first year of operation.