Famous bucking bull, Oscar, had a night out on the town after being released by vandals.

Oscar, the famous bucking bull who resides at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Champions in Colorado Springs, had a night on the town last December when vandals broke into his pen, freeing him and a companion Mexican steer. Barney Hammond, who cares for the animals at the Hall of Champions, discovered the escape when he went to feed that morning and ran into the PRCA office yelling for someone to phone police.

Oscar and his pal were nowhere in sight, so Travis Sebera phoned the news media in an effort to notify people to watch for the animals. A little later that morning the Rio Grande Railroad phoned to report that a train crew had spotted the pair along the track a couple miles north. And then another report came in—a local radio station recalled that a late-night caller, who was somewhat inebriated, had phoned the station to publicly “swear off the sauce” after seeing a ghostly white steer trot past his car and disappear down a residential street.

Oscar and steer loose
A television news cameraman with Oscar and his steer pal, in a gulley north of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Champions.

Most of the men who work in the PRCA office were gone; they had already left for Oklahoma City to prepare for the National Finals Rodeo. So staff supervisor Harla Dedrick asked that all women employees who were wearing flat-heeled shoes that day to join in a search over rough, hilly ground north of the building. Harla was on the phone toWestern Horsemanwhen she looked out the window and saw Oscar peek over a hill about a quarter mile away.

Within 15 minutes, dozens of people had converged on the area. Police and humane society officials were there, along with PRCA workers, reporters, and photographers. It looked like an old Cecil B. De Mille movie with a cast of thousands swarming down the hillside to surround the two escapees. The cast swarmed back up the hill after Oscar showed his disdain for the scene.

“He charged a couple of guys,” said Barney. “But he didn’t charge me, he just ran around me. I guess it’s because he knows me, and knows I’m the one who feeds him.”

The old bull is 13 years old and has rheumatism, so he wasn’t in much of a mood for more travel, but the steer was ready to head for the next county. The crowd finally hazed Oscar down a gulley and the steer joined him. Kenny Compton, Hall operations manager, and Gary Craig, facilities manager, went home to get horses, and upon their return, Oscar and friend were easily driven back to their quarters.

What could have been a tragedy turned out okay. A guard was posted at the pens that night, and an alarm system installing the following day. And the women who work in the PRCA office decided there were a heck of a lot of things they didn’t know about when they signed on with the outfit.

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