Restaurant sign featuring bull’s extra-large genitalia sparks outrage, city petition

A new Barista’s Restaurant sign in Hurricane is leaving many people with a bad taste in their mouths and sparking outrage within the community, Hurricane, Utah, March 17, 2015 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

HURRICANE – A new sign at Barista’s Restaurant, located at 460 W. State St. in Hurricane, featuring a bull’s extra-large male anatomy, is sparking outrage within the community.

Barista’s Restaurant sign in Hurricane is leaving many people with a bad taste in their mouth and sparking outrage among the community, Hurricane, Utah, March 17, 2015 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
A sign at Barista’s Restaurant in Hurricane is leaving many people with a bad taste in their mouths and sparking outrage within the community, Hurricane, Utah, March 17, 2015 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

The sign, placed Saturday across the street from Hurricane High School, is prompting fierce backlash from angry residents who are calling the sign offensive and inappropriate, saying the depiction of the bull’s genitalia is blatantly overdone.

“It looks terrible,” Hurricane City resident Denise Mackelprang said. “I could see the bull, but not the details of the sex. It’s R-rated to me, especially with young school kids seeing it and talking about it.”

There’s no bull about it

Several residents said they think the bull would look good if it were anatomically correct and the dimensions and proportions were appropriate throughout – more bull and less genitalia.

“The giant bull is awesome,” Hurricane City resident Angel Janell said. “The giant, weird testicles and penis are not even anatomically correct … that is my issue.”

Lindsay Knapp expressed her outrage about the sign on a community Facebook discussion about the sign:

Holy cow!! Sure kids will see bulls on ranches, but not suspended from 25 feet in the air to make everything that much more visible and noticeable that otherwise wouldn’t really be seen! Don’t know about you, but my kids don’t lie down beneath bulls or any other animals to have that kind of vantage point that this particular piece of “art” gives when looking at it from below.

Barista’s Restaurant owner Stephen Ward said the real issue Hurricane City residents are having is with him and not the sign.

“If I put Pinocchio up there, its nose would be too big,” Ward said. “It’s me. It’s me. It’s not the bull. It’s not the restaurant. They don’t like me. But you know what, where does it say in the world, in the Constitution, that they can prevent me having the right to do legal commerce in the United States? That is my God-given right.”

Barista's Restaurant permit issued by Hurricane City to have the restaurant's sign installed, Hurricane, Utah, March 19, 2015 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News
Barista’s Restaurant permit issued by Hurricane City to have the restaurant’s sign installed, Hurricane, Utah, March 19, 2015 | Photo by Dan Fowlks, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

Ward said he went through all the proper steps to have the sign approved by Hurricane City before having the sign installed.

Hurricane City Planning Director Toni Foran confirmed the sign was approved by the city before it went up.

“We saw a depiction on a piece of paper probably about 3 inches tall that, you know, may not have had exactly the same proportions,” Foran said.

A petition was initiated last week urging the Hurricane City Council to refuse Barista’s Restaurant’s business license renewal. As of Wednesday, the petition had gathered more than 500 signatures.

“The business is licensed as a restaurant with what’s called the ‘limited liquor’ through the state of Utah,” Foran said. “The license was just renewed in January and I have not heard anybody that is intending to do anything else about it.”

Many Hurricane residents are planning to attend the Hurricane City Council meeting Thursday evening to express their concerns about the sign.

Foran said Wednesday that the City Council and the city attorney are looking into whether there is anything that can be done about the sign.

“They’ve picked a fight with the wrong guy ‘cause I’ve had it with their freakin’ abuse and violating my amendment rights,” Ward said.

This is a developing story. Check back for more on this issue as the story unfolds.

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  • tb March 19, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    “But you know what, where does it say in the world, in the Constitution, that they can prevent me having the right to do legal commerce in the United States?”

    Yeah, if you have ever actually read your constitution, you’d know that you don’t control your right to commerce, it’s in Article 1, Section 8

    Also, I could care less about the bull, but this restaurant is notorious for charging outrageous money for mediocre menu items for the sole purpose of taking advantage of tourists. This restaurant has bigger issues than bull testicles hovering above it.

  • conspiracygirl March 19, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    What’s next…? A petition demanding that Donald Duck wear pants…?

  • Real Life March 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Sometimes people here just make it to easy. Comedy gold!

  • voice of reason March 19, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    The owner of this restaurant is certifiable nut job who’s been gouging unsuspecting tourists with his overpriced, under seasoned and mediocre for for years. Look up the reviews on Yelp. The place is crap, the owner is crap, the food is crap. The potential fight here reminds me of that old saying about wrestling with a pig. Everyone gets muddy, but the pig enjoys it.

  • anyonemouse March 19, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Well freedom of expression, and he is expressing very clearly the type of person he is. The lack of patronage by us as well as our friends and family as they visit from out of town will express our opinions financially.

  • San March 19, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Okay….that’s one petition that I will sign. He isn’t interested in doing business with that sign as much as he wants to stir up trouble with the town. It’s ridiculous to argue with him just DO NOT go there and warn the world through the internet and social media. Keep it real…if you’ve been there, spell it out on yelp and travelocity, et al.

  • Dennis March 19, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I drove by that sign twice in the last week and never noticed the appendage that is getting everyone’s knickers in a knot. If you want to see something unseemly you will, most of us won’t even give it a second thought.

  • McMurphy March 19, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Things must be slow in Hurricane if the folks there can’t find something better to complain about.

  • eiznem March 19, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    The people that started this petition should also put one together for the bull on Wall Street in NYC — its testicles are offending me!!

  • munchie March 19, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I think the whole thing is pretty funny but I would think twice before ordering the “special” of the day

  • Simone March 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Maybe this is just my opinion but I think Utah’s Mormons have their priorities all sorts of mixed up. Want proof? Dancing is illegal and people get MAD when a sign that shows a bulls penis is raised legally but no one is doing anything about the pedo ring in Hildale and a woman who killed her baby gets a $20,000 fundraiser and no criminal charges. smh.

    • SunnyInUtah March 20, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      I second that. Nicely put!

  • Simone March 19, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Forgive me, I meant to say “Dancing outside of Mormon church buildings is illegal”. When I was in college at DSC/DSU, they had dances all the time at the institute.

  • solocholo March 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Too funny. So many in an uproar over the bulls anatomically incorrect penis. I agree that the least of the problems here is the bull’s unit.

  • mmmbacon March 19, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I can’t stop laughing at this story!

    I’m waiting for the big hog sign next!

    BLT please!

  • Mesaizacd March 19, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Oh please people with all that is going around here you have a problem with a restaurant sign………. Yawn

  • Gary March 19, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Dennis, I agree. I drive down the street twice a day and have NEVER noticed it. If you look for something to be offended about you will always find something . . . or make something up.

  • Hugh Jass March 20, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I have the prefect slogan to go with that new signage….. “Baristas. Our meat belongs in your mouth”

    • SunnyInUtah March 20, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Okay, seriously now THAT is funny! come on people life is waaaay to short to not have a great laugh!

  • Monte March 20, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Man, all of this over a sign…..My horse has a longer wiener than that!!!

    This goes along with the picture of his daughter scantily clad with CFM clothes on “Enter in Rear”. There is no law against bad taste and the Hurricane City Council approved the sign

    Since Mr Ward is such a fan of the constitution and freedom of expression among other things play his game. Picket his establishment. Park high profile vehicles in front his place on the street. I did that with our RV to go across to ACE and it almost made his head explode. Tell potential victims….I mean customers DO NOT GO HERE. I have told many people about to go in there to avoid the place and most listened.

  • sagemoon March 20, 2015 at 8:35 am

    It’s a piece of art. Get over yourselves you Hurricane prudes.

  • Bender March 20, 2015 at 8:49 am

    This article needs more pictures of the bull Joyce.

  • tcrider March 20, 2015 at 8:54 am

    this whole thing is about getting free advertising for the restaurant, its nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt. that looks to be done in very poor taste.
    If the owner will stoop this low, to get this kind of attention, It makes you wonder what other stuff he might be doing to the food in the restaurant, NO THANKS, I will not be going to this dive.

  • anybody home March 20, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Watch for this one on Saturday Night Live…

    People whose kids probably watch porn are worried about those kids seeing a bull’s penis which, I’ve gotta say, looks nothing like any real bull appendage in the picture. Shoot, this could become southern Utah’s biggest tourist attraction – postcards will be printed, t=shirts made, bumper stickers sold…Hurricane could boom with all the business. Oh, no, wait. They want to take the bull down.

    Either this news site just picks up the weirdest of the weird for stories or there really is a lot of crazy s*** around here. Either way, Utah remains a laughing stock nationally.

  • makkie March 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Just say it is a gay bull and everyone will defend it to the death.The white house will issue some type of discrimination protection preventing it from being taken down,maybe even parades in it’s honor.

  • Gretchen March 20, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Pretty sure that just an ARROW pointing to the restaurant.

    All y’all need to calm down.

    No need to castrate the owner, this is just a bunch of bull

  • punkstar March 20, 2015 at 11:34 am

    The title of the article is misleading. The petition with over 500 signatures was started BEFORE he put the sign up. The owner is a complete jerk…go and read the yelp reviews for proof. Most of the glowing reviews suspiciously have reviewed only one or two restaurants. Most of the terrible reviews are from people OUTSIDE of the community. He preys on unsuspecting tourists and that is why the community doesn’t like this business…it has nothing to do with the bull although that’s not really helping him become Mr. Congeniality.

  • SteveSGU March 20, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Mr. Ward is right. After his childish comments here, I don’t like him. But the emphasis on grossly oversize sex organs on a public sign is certainly inappropriate. I think Mr. Ward will find that his neighbors won’t be interested in patronizing his restaurant, if he can’t be a little more friendly and less defensive.

  • SteveSGU March 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

    After reading the reviews, I will now keep this place in mind (to steer my visitors away from it). Not all publicity is good.

  • fun bag March 20, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    The fact that this article gets all these idiotic comments says more about Utardia than any bull penis sign…

  • CharlotteWebb March 20, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    When I saw the bull in the parking lot, I thought it was a gorgeous sculpture. Then I saw it on the sign. OMG it is gross. The owner is clearly saying FU to everyone he does not like. I know nothing of him, I have never eaten there. I will not now after hearing his comments about it being because of him, not the sign. BS, it is the sign, it is gross. Any animal with a large out-of-proportion erection does not need to be on a sign. I see that the proposed drawing has a small penis……….the council can act on that fact since it is NOT what they agreed to.

  • CaliGirl March 21, 2015 at 12:16 am

    All the uproar reminds me of the Mt. St. Helens restaurant sign a few years ago. It looked like a naked woman laying on her back. More of a publicity stunt. I do like the park the RV in th front idea. That’s creative and legal. Also, the appendage does look oddly shaped. Looks more like a funnel. The testes, from the photos look like udders. Maybe it’s going through “gender reassignment.” Give the guy his 15-minutes of fame. From the sounds of it, he won’t be there for long.

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