Lawsuit claims mechanical bull caused injury


BEACON FALLS — Wild Willy, the mechanical gyrating bull, may have been too wild at last year’s firemen’s carnival, one rider alleges in a lawsuit.

A Naugatuck man is suing the town, Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 and the vendor who provided Wild Willy the Bucking Bronco for a fundraising carnival last year due to a broken pelvis he claims was caused by the ride.

An attorney for Richard Tabaka filed the suit in Waterbury Superior Court, claiming more than $15,000 for medical bills, damages and pain and suffering.

The suit claims that Tabaka visited the fair at the firehouse June 11 and was seated on the bull, which is described as “inherently dangerous instrumentality” in court papers, when it was operated “in such a manner so that it violently lurched without warning or notice of any nature to the plaintiff.”

The vendor failed to provide “proper” mats, failed to equip the bull with safety devices that would prevent Tabaka from “being violently hurled about” and neglected to equip it with proper safety equipment, according to the lawsuit’s claims.

The same claims made against the vendor were also made against the town and the fire department. Tabaka fractured his pelvis and tailbone in the ensuing fall, which required surgery and prevented him from working, the lawsuit says.

The annual carnival, which is entering its 54th year, helps the fire department support local youth sports, fire prevention programs, educational scholarships, holiday events such as the Christmas tree lighting and Easter egg hunt, and donations to needy families.

The department had advertised the new bull ride, along with carnival favorites, such fried dough, cold beers and margaritas. It cost $7 to ride, but there was a chance of winning $200, according to a banner near the ride.

A video recorded that night shows riders tumbling and flipping off the bull and onto mats underneath them that extended from its base.

A series of rails can been seen surrounding the ride and the riders shown in the video all popped back up after being thrown from the bull.

In addition to the town and firefighters, the lawsuit also names Game Time, a Berlin-based company, Marenna Amusements and James Myers.

An attorney for the fire department did not return calls last week. The suit was filed by Joseph D. Foti Jr., an attorney with the Middlebury-based firm Moore, O’Brien & Foti.


  1. “If I ever need assistance ”

    So God forbid you ever had a fire at your house you would call Seymour or Naugatuck ambulance service. Good luck with that.

    I for one fully support the men and women of Beacon Hose Co # 1.

    I do agree with you we need a new competent First Selectman. The current one has proven to be corrupt, inept, partisan and spineless.

    And no I am not a member of the fire department.

  2. The “good old boys” do it again!!! They like to drive around with the red neck trucks filled with lights trying to impress the good old folks in Beacon Falls, yet they can’t manage a simple carnival without issues. Where is the adult leadership in the department? There is accountability in other town’s departments but not the renegade fire department…and not the first selectman either, everyone knows that!! He should be the first to be held accountable!!!
    If I ever need assistance, I am calling the ambulance service in Naugatuck and Seymour, too many good old boys using e-cigarettes for me to rely on them for proper health advice and assistance. At the carnival, they could be seen hanging out together blowing vape clouds!! How proud!!!

  3. It’s a mechanical bull, not the merry go round and I believe you had to sign a waiver…any ride you need to sign a waiver should warn you that you might get hurt. There should be no fault on the carnival, town, or BFD.

    This is horrible…that ride was great and many people and kids had a nice time. I hope to see it again this year and look forward to the carnival. Long live Willy!

  4. Mismanagement and poor leadership?

    I for one think they do a fine job and I
    thank ALL members for their service.

    As for mismanagement and poor leadership you must be referring to the current First Selectman.

  5. So once again due to mismanagement and poor leadership, the fire department is going to cost the town more money because they think they are above the rules. Its time the town took control of good old boys hang out and bring in professional Firefighters