Maui bull freed after giant tire stuck on his head

HONOLULU (AP) - November 11, 2011

The 800-pound bull, named Skywalker, couldn't eat or drink after he got his head lodged in the truck tire that someone dumped at the Triple L Ranch in Maui, ranch owner Paige De Ponte said.

"He was uncomfortable and it took all day to get him out," she said Wednesday.

No one could get near the cranky bull Tuesday until Skywalker became exhausted enough for ranch worker Kawika Manoa to use a piece of wood to pry off the tire, which weighs more than 50 pounds. Skywalker didn't put up a fight and then went straight for the water trough after being released from the rubber ring, De Ponte said.

She didn't know how the tire ended up around Skywalker's neck, but she said she hopes his plight will raise awareness about using the rural Kanaio area, in the upcountry region of the island, as a dumping ground.

"My message to the public is to please remember that Kanaio is a community where generations have lived and prospered. Our open-range ranch has been here for 50 years and never have we ever seen such an event like this," she said. "I hope Skywalker's unfortunate predicament was more of a godsend at a time when we need people to recognize this beautiful place as a treasure and that small farmers such as ourselves depend on the public to respect us and the land more than ever."

The Maui News first reported Skywalker's predicament Wednesday.

The white bull seemed to be fine after the ordeal, De Ponte said, adding that no one has ever been able to stay on him for the full eight seconds during any Maui rodeo. None of the ranch's 17 other bulls has been successfully ridden.

De Ponte's husband, Louis "Bully" De Ponte, was a champion bull-rider. He died in March.

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