HURRICANE – The bull sculpture atop Barista’s restaurant at 460 W. State St. in Hurricane, made famous over the last few weeks after it sparked outrage in the community over its extra-large male anatomy, received a penectomy of sorts Friday when the owner decided to have the bull’s penis removed.
“The famous weenie’s gone,” Barista’s Restaurant Owner Stephen Ward said Friday afternoon, “but the reason I did it is because I didn’t like it.”
Ward, who said he has spent a million dollars on signs for his 5,500-square-foot restaurant, said he purchased the $130,000 bull sculpture in Las Vegas.
After the bull went up on the sign on March 14, Ward said he decided he didn’t like how much the genitalia of the bull obstructed the view of the bull’s belly and the plate work on the sculpture.
I saw that beautiful sculpture in Vegas and bought it and I was just thinking about it and, this morning, after it being up for a couple weeks – it has nothing to do with the city at all – I said ‘you know what, I’m gonna have that penis taken off so you can see more of the beautiful (bull). I love the joints and the plate work, you know, instead of that atrocious, well that party hat. It was so stupid because it looks like a party hat.
When the well-endowed bull initially went up at Barista’s, it prompted fierce backlash from angry residents who called the sign offensive and inappropriate, saying the depiction of the bull’s genitalia was blatantly overdone.
Notwithstanding the recent outrage over the bull, Ward said the real issue Hurricane City residents have is with him and has nothing to do with the sign.
Hurricane City Planning Director Toni Foran confirmed Ward went through all the proper steps to have the sign approved by Hurricane City before having the sign installed and said the sign was approved by the city before it went up.
“We saw a depiction on a piece of paper probably about 3 inches tall that, you know, may not have had exactly the same proportions,” Foran said.
In response to Foran’s statement that she had not seen the bull sculpture before it was installed, Ward produced an email Foran sent him eight days prior to the sign going up in which Foran said she had finally seen the bull sculpture as it sat outside of the restaurant and said she thought it was beautiful.
“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,” Ward said of the city. “I mean, they lied. It 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.”
Busting balls with a legal approach
Ward said Hurricane City has conspired to disrupt, destroy and cause harm and disrespect to his business by attacking, belittling and harassing him for six years.
After learning in January he was being denied the ability to upgrade his limited liquor license – his license allows him to serve only beer and wine – to a hard liquor license, Ward said, he hired Attorney Dave Hunter and plans to sue the City of Hurricane.
Ward said he also started a lawsuit Friday against the man who allegedly initiated a petition in March, calling for the Hurricane City Council to refuse Barista’s Restaurant’s business license renewal.
He said what especially causes him concern is that the man who started the petition against his business is a teller at one of the places he banks, giving the petitioner-initiator access to much of Ward’s personal information.
“He’s a teller and he’s never patronized this business,” Ward said. “He’s a teller at U.S. Bank and we started his lawsuit today.”
Negative attention erecting positive results
Since St. George News first broke the story of the bull controversy on March 19, the story has gained wide-spread momentum and popularity, making headlines across the nation.
Ward’s wife, Pamela Ward, said the vindictive and slanderous comments made publicly by some Hurricane City residents in attempt to make Barista’s Restaurant go out of business, has only worked against those residents.
Pamela Ward said:
We’re still busy from it. People came in here – people love controversy, you know – they love it and they want to see what’s going on; and they’ll come in here and they’ll say ‘wow, we came in just because we read this article’ so it really helped us a lot. It did. It gave us probably double or triple the business for this time of the year, and the beautiful weather, too.
Baristas Inc. is a corporation in good standing, according to filings on record with the Division of Commerce. Ward recently added an additional sign to his business, El Travatore, to advertise how long his family has been in the restaurant and tourism business, Ward said. There has been no change of business name.
This is a developing story as more issues continue to come to light. Check back for more on this issue as the story unfolds.
St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic and Reporter-videographer Devan Chavez contributed to this report.
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- Restaurant sign featuring bull’s extra-large genitalia sparks outrage, city petition
- Restaurant employee attacked, owner angry over bull controversy; STGnews Videocast
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