MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Authorities say eight people were hurt, one woman seriously and a sheriff’s deputy, after a bull got loose at the Dakota County Fair Wednesday night.
The incident happened at about 8:24 p.m. in Farmington, according to the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. A 2,000-pound bull managed to get loose from the grandstand area during a bull-riding event at the fair.
One woman, identified Thursday by authorities as Barbara Goggin of Cottage Grove, had to be airlifted to a hospital. She was listed as in satisfactory condition at Hennepin County Medical Center and is recovering from head injuries after being trampled.
“The cowboys came through and they looked scared, so that’s when I got scared,” said a woman at the fair who witnessed the incident.
The bull was owned by Gold Medal Cattle Company in Wisconsin. Scott Vandergeest, of Gold Medal Cattle Company, said that he had the bull slaughtered Thursday morning. He said the bull was 3 years old and that he had problems with it in the past.
“It was an expensive animal, but people are worth more,” he said.
The bull first encountered a sheriff’s deputy, identified as Matt Regis, who shot the bull twice, but it kept running and eventually trampled Regis.
The bull ran around the fairground for another 10 to 15 minutes before its handlers finally corralled it, roped it and brought it back to the grandstand.
“I was scared, I was more worried about the people around. There’s a lot of risk in the job so you have to deal with it,” Regis said. “I drew my weapon, and the bull was about six feet away from me. I got my weapon out as fast as I could. It’s head was down in my leg area, it made contact with me. I fired two rounds into the bull.”
Regis said he had significant back pain Thursday morning and was wearing an ankle brace since the incident. He said he was wearing his typical protective gear and believes that reduced injuries as the bull was on top of him.
For many fair-goers, It was a frightening experience as they didn’t know how it would play out.
“The sheriff goes ‘Hurry up, the bull is coming’ then he’s like mad at us and then he pulls out his gun, then the bull tramples him,” said Devon Webb, who was there when it all went down. “Then he put two rounds into the bull to get it directed towards him so then none of us got hurt.”
Authorities said aside from the woman who had to be airlifted, the other injuries suffered in the incident appear to be minor and were treated by emergency personnel at the Dakota County Fairgrounds.
“Given the large number of people attending the fair on Wednesday evening, and the fact the bull ran into an area congested with fair-goers, we are fortunate there were not many more injuries,” said Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows.
The event was sponsored by the Rice Bull Riding Company of Princeton, Minn.