1. Strange Plot Twist in Hitchhiker Shooting, Julian, W.Va.

At first, West Virginia’s Ray Dolin appeared to be an ironic victim. While doing research for a hitchhiking memoir called Kindness in America, it was reported that the Julian resident stuck his thumb out to catch a ride in Glasgow, Montana. As he approached a pick-up truck, he was shot in the arm. A mother and daughter spotted Dolin flagging down their car and assisted him until help could arrive. Soon after, Lloyd Christopher Danielson was arrested for the shooting. But a few days later, Danielson was cleared of the charges. Then, after investigating the crime scene, police found a gun that was traced back to Dolin, who later admitted to shooting himself in an apparent effort to create publicity for his book.

2. George’s Last Ride, Greenville, S.C. 

One of pro cycling’s greatest wingmen and notable Greenville residents George Hincapie announced his retirement this summer, just before riding in his final Tour de France. Hincapie is credited with helping Lance Armstrong win all seven of his Tour titles. The 19-year veteran was also part of every U.S. Olympic team since 1992 and won three national road race titles in 1998, 2006, and 2009. His 17th Tour appearance this summer broke the record for most starts in the event’s history. Hincapie will ride through the 2012 season.

3. Prison Break, Atlanta, Ga. 

Jail food is notoriously lousy, but some inmates in Atlanta are being offered better grub if they get past new locks being put on cell doors. Fulton County’s chief jailer is testing his new method of security with a challenge for those it is holding—beat the new cell locks and win free food.

4. Dog’s Worst Friend, Wilmington, N.C.

Police were trying to run down Travis Keith Glaspie for a number of outstanding warrants. When they caught him, Glaspie shocked Wilmington’s finest by biting the ear off a K-9 named Maxx. Glaspie ended up with a dog bite to the thigh and a felony assault on a law enforcement animal charge, while Maxx needed 15 stitches to repair his ear.

5. One Lucky Leg, Lexington, Ky

Thanks to his school pride, Fred Robinson recovered the prosthetic leg he lost while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico over Memorial Day weekend. A fisherman found Robinson’s leg, which is emblazoned with the Wildcats logo of his alma matter, the University of Kentucky. The fisherman, Matt Willingham, contacted the leg manufacturer, and thanks to the logo, Robinson was easy to track down. The former Wildcat football player was quite happy to recover the prosthetic, which carries a steep price tag of $30,000.

Beyond the Blue Ridge

Bam Hucks a Hundred Footer
Hood River, Ore. 

Jackass star Bam Margera hit the news this summer after hucking off the 100-foot Metlako Falls in a tandem kayak with pro boater Steve Fisher. Sweet video footage of the stunt surfaced online, but when Margera came up for air, he ended up in the hospital for emergency hernia surgery.

Biting the Hand that Feeds
Everglades City, Fla. 

Wally Weatherholt, a 63-year-old airboat captain, tried to bait an alligator with marshmallows to give tourists a choice photo op. When he started slapping the water with the sugary treats, a nine-foot gator lunged forward and bit off his left hand. The gator was euthanized and attempted reattachment surgery was unsuccessful. Weatherholt could face fines or jail time for feeding the gator.

Bike Thief Bound for Hell
San Francisco, Ca. 

Double-amputee Krzyszof Jarzebski was preparing to hand pedal across the country, but his plans stalled when someone stole his $13,000 custom-made bike. The 53-year-old Polish Paralympic athlete lost his legs after a fight with cancer, but he’s bounced back to hand cycle all across his native Europe. Unfortunately, Jarzebski’s visit to America was marred by a thief willing to make a few bucks by stealing what’s obviously a bike adapted for those with disability.

In other news, what should the next Olympic Sport be; trail running or climbing?