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Maui bull freed after giant tire stuck on his head

In this photo provided by the Triple L Ranch, Skywalker, a rodeo bull, is shown with a giant tire that was stuck to his head for about 20 hours in Kula, Hawaii Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011. The bull was unable to eat or drink with his head lodged in a truck tire dumped on the property. Ranch owner Paige De Ponte doesn’t know how the tire ended up on Skywalker’s head but she’s hoping his plight raises awareness about using the rural Kenaio area as a dumping ground. In this photo provided by the Triple L Ranch, Skywalker, a rodeo bull, is shown with a giant tire that was stuck to his head for about 20 hours in Kula, Hawaii Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011. The bull was unable to eat or drink with his head lodged in a truck tire dumped on the property. Ranch owner Paige De Ponte doesn’t know how the tire ended up on Skywalker’s head but she’s hoping his plight raises awareness about using the rural Kenaio area as a dumping ground. (AP Photo/Triple L Ranch, Zachery De Ponte)
By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
Associated Press / November 9, 2011

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HONOLULU—A rodeo bull in Hawaii appears comfortable again after spending about 20 hours with his head stuck in a giant tire.

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 (http://bit.ly/uiIwF0) 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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