HURRICANE, Utah – The small southern Utah town of Hurricane might become a little quieter after a statue of a copper bull lost its most prominent private feature this weekend.
The sculpture holds a high perch above the sign for Barista's restaurant, and owner Stephen Ward said he woke up Friday and decided the bull would look better without the oversized genitalia that caused uproar among the neighbors.
Hurricane residents disturbed by the noticeable, cone-shaped feature had asked the city council to revoke Barista's business license.
Ward told the Spectrum newspaper in St. George (http://bit.ly/1Dgosne ) Saturday that he made it clear to city officials before he altered the statue that he wasn't bowing to community pressure.
"I told them I am not removing the penis for you or because of your complaints. I don't like you. I'm doing it for me," Ward told. "I just decided it would look better without the weenie. And oh my God! It's beautiful."
Even before the battle over the bull, tensions had been running high between Ward and the local community just north of the Arizona border.
Customers have said the food is too expensive, alleged that Ward is hostile and has poor business practices. He says his offerings are the best in the region and hasn't hesitated to push back.
The dispute got physical on March 14, when an altercation erupted between a Barista's employee and a patron. The patron was cited for a number of misdemeanors, including assault, according to the Hurricane City Police Department. Ward, however, said the incident wasn't handled appropriately and is upset that the patron wasn't arrested.
The copper bull's outsized genitalia reinvigorated the fight. After a steady stream of complaints, city officials were evaluating whether there were grounds to force the removal or modification of the bull.
City Manager Clark Fawcett said the sign was approved by the planning department and Ward went through the proper channels, but: "the dimensions of certain parts of the animal don't seem to be built the same way as in the plan that came to us."
Ward acknowledged Saturday that he did feel like something was a bit off after he installed the bull.
"It didn't even look (right), it was in the shape of a cone — but I don't know what a weenie on a bull is supposed to look like," Ward said.
He said he didn't put it up to make anyone angry on purpose, but the conflict hasn't hurt his business.
"I put it up because it's an amazing piece, and I bought it as-is," he said, "but I am having fun with all the attention and it's brought in more customers."
Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com