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On the Light Side

August 22, 1986

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ More than 200 businesswomen brandishing briefcases tore through the streets of San Francisco in an urban alternative to the sack race and watermelon- eating contest.

″This town gets weirder by the minute,″ shrugged Gary Lawrence, a 30- year-old construction worker whose crew ate lunch while watching the women scurry by on the sidewalk Thursday.

The idea for the whimsical relay competition, one of 36 events of this year’s San Francisco Fair testing urban skills, was hatched two years ago by a local comedy writer. Other events include foghorn-calling, lip-synching and a parking competition.

The 42 corporate teams of five women competing in the Financial District Strut had to run a gauntlet of panhandlers, people thrusting unwanted leaflets in their faces, bicyclists on the sidewalk and tourists wielding bulky video cameras.

″The temptation is to swing your briefcase and knock people down, but unfortunately that’s against the rules,″ said competitor Anne Marshall, who ran for the Bank of America team.

The winners, employees of a law firm who called themselves the Broad Struts, hit the tape in a record 11 minutes, 50 seconds to claim their booty of champagne, roses and a bronzed suitcase.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Victor has a record any other wrestler would envy: He’s never been pinned in 20 years of competition.

He’d be a bear if anyone ever did it. But then he’s a bear all the time.

The 650-pound Victor climbs into the wrestling ring three times a day at the Kentucky State Fair to take on his challengers.

″Once he gets on top of you, that’s it. There’s no way you’re going to get up again,″ said Gary Stalcup, one of four men who lost to Victor on Wednesday.

″It’s like wrestling a Saint Bernard, only the bear is about five times bigger,″ said George Allen, Victor’s trainer.

The muzzled bear has been declawed and his four canine teeth pulled, and Allen and fair officials say they make sure the bear is not mistreated.

But the Kentucky Humane Society says it has received more than 30 complaints.

″It’s just not natural for a bear to go through that,″ said Bonnie Herman, executive director of the society. ″This is just animal exploitation for human entertainment.″

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