The Running of the Bull in Oxford

Bull gets loose on Christmas Eve, leads followers on an incredible chase through town.

As we joined family and friends for our holiday celebrations, the local media seemed to have missed what could be the strangest and yet most intriguing story of 2011.

'Twas was the (day) before Christmas, when all through the (town). Not a creature was stirring, except for a…bull?

That’s right. Around 3:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, a 780-pound bull got loose from his owner’s farm near the Quaker Farms section of town and led residents, police and firefighters on a wild chase that lasted about two hours, police said.

The bull originally made its way to and ran toward Captain Wooster Road and then Route 188, said Oxford Resident Trooper Dan Semosky, recalling the wild incident in which little Oxford looked like Pamplona, Spain for a day.

The bull ran to O’Neill Road toward , where Semosky said parishioners could be seen lining the windows to catch a glimpse of the running of the bull.

“It was one of the most bizarre events I can remember,” Semosky said. “That bull was 780 pounds! If he wants to get out and get going, there is very little you are going to do to pull him back. Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt.”

The owner’s friends attempted to help, and one of them struck a police cruiser with his car after he pulled up behind the officer and forgot to put the car in park, Semosky said. And firefighter Joe Calabrese, former first selectman candidate and aide to former First Selectman Mary Ann Drayton-Rogers, was clipped on the hand by a car as he closed off a street to keep commuters away from the chase, Semosky said. Calabrese was not injured, and the trooper was taken to a hospital for evaluation but also was OK, Semosky said. Police cited both drivers.

Meanwhile, the owner continued to chase the bull with a flock of at least 10 people; the owner continuously tried to lasso the animal, but it kept slipping away, Semosky said.

Finally, it appeared the chase was over when the owner cornered his animal and tried to tie him to the push bumper of a state police cruiser, Semosky said. But once again, the massive animal got away and ripped the push bumper off the car, he said.

A little while later - about two hours after the bull got loose - the chasers finally cornered the animal and tied him to a pole, Semosky said. 

The reason the story has yet to be reported in mainstream local media - that we know of - is probably because most local reporters, including myself, were on vacation for the week. And there was no press report released on the incident.

“This is something that if you tried to write a full report on it, you’d be writing a novel,” Semosky said. “But we are investigating it. We are following up now to see how the owner is going to pay for the damage to the police cars, and we’re following up with animal control.”

Editor's Note: Joe Calabrese clarified that he was struck by a car on the hand and that the car was not going slow. We have since updated the story.

Amy Carlone Cote January 03, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I was at Christ Church when this bizarre sight came running down the road. My guess is that he (the bull) was trying to get to the female herd at Screiber's farm. He was within sight too before he was pulled over for evading a lasso. Lol
Mary Ellen Macedonia January 03, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I was re-routed at the end of Oneill and had to go all the way back up Barry & Captain Wooster to get to the end of Hogsback on the 188 side. Gave me a chance to look at all the Christmas lights though-even mine as I had to drive past my house again!! And my niece had police running through her back yard on Captain Wooster looking for the elusive bull!! Wonder if it was the same re-located bull from Milford/Orange that had been on the lamb for months until they caught him and exiled him to somewhere in Oxford??? Maybe he was just trying to get back there for the holidays?
Therese Kennett January 03, 2012 at 07:53 PM
We were wondering why the ambulance came.... rumor had it that the bull went after a car.... sorry it was Joe C's foot that got run over....OUCH!! Hope the bull had a very Merry Christmas ~
Paul Singley January 03, 2012 at 09:07 PM
That is the same question I asked - whether it was the same bull from Milford/Orange. Turns out it wasn't. Interesting, though.
Ed Rowland January 03, 2012 at 09:29 PM
I think the Orange bull turned out to be a heifer
Joseph Calabrese January 03, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Actually, Paul, other than color the bull wasn't anything like the one in your picture! That's no 780lb you've shown; we thought PBR had relocated to Rte. 188! My son caught some of the action with his phone before coming out to help me keep cars away from the bull. He posted it on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giubVL20lPg. The beginning is pretty choppy, but it settles down some and you can see the bull tied off to the bumper, the owner getting tossed as he tried to control the bull, the rear door of the cruiser being bent back, and the bull ultimately being tied off to the phone pole. All in all, it was quite the Christmas Eve. By the way, it wasn't my leg that was hit, and the car wasn't going all that 'slowly'. He came straight at me and ignored my frantic signalling to stop and turn. I jumped out of the way, but his windshield struck my hand as he kept driving through.
Therese Kennett January 03, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Glad you are ok Joe ~ terrible that the driver did not slow down.... guess this could have been worse if you were not quick on your feet~ Good to see the footage on utube, thanks for sharing....
Paul Singley January 04, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Yeah, I think you are right.
Paul Singley January 04, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Thanks, Joe. I updated it. Glad you're OK.
Paul Singley January 04, 2012 at 02:58 AM
P.S. That's the best picture of a bull I could find in our archives. I'll keep searching. In the meantime, anyone who has photos can add them here or send them to me at paul.singley@patch.com. Thanks
Paul Singley January 04, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Joe: I found a bigger bull but it's not quite the same color. It shows the size a little better. I also found some photos from the running of the bulls in Spain and from the rodeo, but I figured those might be a bit of a stretch.
Tanya Carver January 04, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Hi Paul, to give you an update, the bull is safe and sound behind its pen. Sorry can't give you a real picture. I see that some residents have had the pleasure of meeting my newest neighbor :)
Craig Zac January 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
this story sounds like a load of "bull" Paul....lol seriously, no bs, I wish I was home to see this, I would have enjoyed it alot. it would have been great to see everyone running around like some old silent movie...I can hear the music now.lol
Paul Singley January 04, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Glad to hear the bull is OK. Tanya: you guys should invite him over for a swim! Craig: It is "bull," for sure...
Tanya Carver January 04, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Craig...... that is no "bull" ....... can you say "riding bull" ........
Ed Rowland January 04, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Oxford could start its own bull fest with The Riding of the Bulls
Tanya Carver January 04, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Paul, I just don't think he is quite ready for a "Penguin Plunge" besides his pen is bigger..... go figure!!!
Tanya Carver January 04, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Ed, you know "bull riding" has become very popular in these areas, Lone Oaks Campground has a Rodeo during the summer that is a lot of fun. Of course, there's always Laconia. Just wondering what kind of "bull" there will be in Oxford?
Linda and Tom Fowler January 05, 2012 at 02:16 PM
We used to live on Quaker Farms Road. The most exciting thing that ever happened to us was one windy night when a huge tree fell from the Munsons yard right in the middle of the road. It brought all of us neighbors together that evening! But not as much excitement as that bull created. Tom and Linda Fowler
John M. Joy January 05, 2012 at 05:07 PM
...then you weren't paying attention to what Collin, Ryan, Chris, Ray and I were up to.


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