When the Berlin Fair added bull riding to its entertainment list last year, it quickly became a very popular attraction.
When the 10 people signed up to participate in the Xtreme Bullriders "Ring of Fire" they could never have understood how dangerous the situation would quickly become.
The object of the game was for the players to stand in a white chalk circle and the last one standing would win a cash prize.
As soon as the bull was let loose, it took out seven of the players like a bowling ball going through pins. Included in the first group that was knocked down was Berlin Fair President Mark Neumann. On its second pass, the bull knocked down the rest of the players, including a woman in her 30's identified only as Tina by her friends.
While the others struggled to get to their knees or stand, the female stayed down and was seriously injured. She was treated on the scene by the EMS and then taken by ambulance to Hubbard Elementry School. There she was met by a LifeStar helicopter, which took her to Hartford Hospital. Another player, a male, was reportedly taken to The Hospital of Central Connecticut by ambulance.
It was not the first time that EMS were called to the bull ring on Friday as several riders were hurt during their riding sessions earlier in the day.
Neumann said he was feeling OK but was sore.
"There were a lot of reports and rumors but a bright side was that the young lady who was injured was conscious and alert before she left the Fairgrounds," Neumann said.
Onlookers could not believe what they saw.
"The first time through the bull knocked most of them down and then went back and got the rest," said Fred Orde of Berlin. "It was scary to watch, like something out of the movie. The lady was bleeding pretty badly. It looked like she got the horns right int he chest under her chin."
Another resident, Jean Garrison, said she was still a bit in shock.
"I'm sitting here still trying to figure out if this really happened," Garrison said. "It was like a bowling bowl. The bull knocked everybody down and then used its body to knock some others down. At the end the bull picked up a man and threw him in the air and then hit the woman almost head-on. It was scary."
Lindsay Fanelli was one of the players. She commented on the original story on Patch Friday night.
"The problem was they asked participants from the audience to pay $20 to stand in a ring and see who could last the longest, unfortunately, I was one of them," she said. "And I was standing next to the women who was hurt. She also paid to see if she could outlast everyone in the ring. The bull was very aggressive and next thing I knew I was thrown and the woman was bleeding."
The Lions Club Public Safety Director Rob Martin told Channel 3 News that the Berlin Lions did not know this "Ring of Fire" was going to be part of the Bull Riding program and that it is definitely shut down for the rest of the weekend.
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