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Portland "gladiators" battle in chariot bike wars

Rick Bowmer / AP

Dan Oviatt, known as "Captain America," rides his mini bike during a three-day Mini Bike Winter Olympics on Sunday, Feb.19, in Portland, Ore. "Zoobombers" are known for riding pint-sized kids' bikes at breakneck speed down steep streets in Portland. (

Rick Bowmer / AP

Chariot riders battle in a "Ben Hur"-like chariot race at Chariot Wars during a three-day Mini Bike Winter Olympics Saturday, Feb.18, in Portland, Ore. Armed, variously, with all manner of foam-padded apparatus, at least five teams did battle on Saturday under gray skies for the pleasure of hoisting a three-foot-tall, homemade skull-bearing piece of welded junk, called the "Ben Hurt" trophy.

Rick Bowmer / AP

Chariot rider Jon Penfold drinks from the "Ben Hurt" trophy following the "Ben Hur"-like chariot race at Chariot Wars during a three-day Mini Bike Winter Olympics Saturday, Feb. 1, in Portland, Ore. Armed, variously, with all manner of foam-padded apparatus, at least five teams did battle on Saturday under gray skies for the pleasure of hoisting a three-foot-tall, homemade skull-bearing piece of welded junk, called the "Ben Hurt" trophy.

 From AP:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Looking like punk gladiators, teams of young adults on junk bikes pulling chariots made of junk parts frenetically chased each other around a makeshift arena, slamming each other and swinging away with foam clubs.

Spectators tossed beer cans, flour and smoke grenades. Firecrackers popped and obscenities flew during the battle, called the "Ben Hurt Chariot Wars."

And then, toward sundown, the grown-ups arrived. Seven police cars pulled up and told all 400 or so people they had to leave because they were trespassing on railroad property. They complied. But the contest was over anyway.

Click here to read the full story about the "Ben Hurt Chariot Wars" in Portland.