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Bull jumps Sisters Rodeo arena fence, escapes; 3 struck, injured by bull as crowd scrambles out of the way

By Barney Lerten

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    SISTERS, Oregon (KTVZ) — A bull jumped a fence and escaped from the Sisters Rodeo arena during the bull-riding event at Saturday night’s performance, striking and injuring three people while it ran through the rodeo grounds, sparking a frantic run for safety, authorities said.

The incident happened shortly before 10 p.m. at the 84th Sisters Rodeo, a popular event that draws many of the nation’s top cowboys and thousands of spectators.

Deschutes County sheriff’s Sergeant Joshua Spano said several ambulances were called to the scene, and “we have deputies evacuating injured people to local hospitals right now. They caught the bull pretty quick.”

The Sisters Rodeo Association issued a statement early Sunday (in full below) that said three people were injured “as a direct result of the bull, two of whom were transported to a local hospital.”

The association said the rodeo announcer “immediately activated the emergency response plan” as “the bull ran out through the rodeo grounds and back to the livestock holding pens.”

“Rodeo livestock professionals quickly responded to safely contain the bull,” the statement continued. “It was secured next to the livestock holding pens by our rodeo pickup men and immediately placed into a pen.”

“We wish the best to all affected. The safety of our fans is our highest priority and we appreciate their support,” the association said, adding that Sunday’s final performance of the year will proceed as planned.

The packed crowd was singing along with Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” from loudspeakers when the circling bull is seen jumping the fence.

“Get to higher ground, everybody! There’s a bull out!” the announcer quickly says. “Get to higher ground! Open the gates, Billy! Everybody in the grass: Get under the grandstands or up in the grandstands! The pickup men are coming around!”

“Everybody keep your eyes open!” he continues. “A bull is in the grass – a bull has jumped the arena fence, and he’s in the grass! If you’re in the grass, get out of the way! Pickup men are coming around!”

Videos shared with NewsChannel 21 and posted to social media show the bull jumping the fence, then running through the relatively light late-night crowd as rodeo fans scrambled to get out of its way.

Marcelle Abel, who posted a brief video on Facebook of the running bull, called it “the most insane thing I’ve seen in a long time!”

Abel wrote, “The bull jumps the fence at the Sisters Rodeo tonight while we are waiting on the last rider and barrels through the crowd behind the stands. Not sure of the details of injuries but praying for the few that may have been injured.”

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Barney Lerten

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