For several years, beginning in the late 1900s, I was privileged to be a judge at the World Championship Barbecue Goat Cookoff, which is held annually at Richard’s Park in Brady, Texas on Labor Day Weekend. People come from all over to attend the event, and some of the best amateur barbecuers in the country compete for the title of World Champion Goat Barbecuer(s). This is a big deal.
Every year the judges each got an official WCBGC Judge shirt to wear during the event, so the people watching would know we were actually judges, and not just some random people who were getting their goat. The shirts were different every year, so after a while, I ended up with a section in my closet full of judge shirts. I still wear them sometimes, to make people think I’m important. It doesn’t work.
I know it doesn’t work, because even the people in charge of the WCBGC don’t care that I used to be a judge. They never listene to any of my suggestions about how to make the event even bigger and better than it is. For years, I’ve been trying to tell them how to Make Goat Great Again, but they keep ignoring me. I guess they think the WCBGC is already the best goat BBQ event in the world. And everybody knows it.
Once I used this column to suggest dropping a live goat from the top of the McCulloch County Courthouse into a BBQ pit, to begin the festivities. I got the idea from the Festival of St. Vincent, held every year in Manganeses de la Polvorosa, Spain. That event is begun by dropping a live goat from the top of a 50-foot church tower into a tarp. No one paid any attention.
Actually, the Festival of St. Vincent has deteriorated. The animal rights activists have ruined it, just like they try to ruin every tiny detail of every aspect of our lives. They complained until the Spanish folks have started throwing a stuffed toy goat out of the church tower, instead of a real one. Which proves that, if everyone would just quit listening to the animal rights crowd, life would be a lot more fun, and we’d all be happier. Well, maybe not the goats.
And then, just recently, I sent a link to my friend, James Stewart, about the North American Packgoat Association. This is an organization that, since 1999, has promoted the use of goats as pack animals for back country travel. It is, as stated on their website, which you can look up yourself on AlGore’s interwebnets, ‘on the front lines protecting your right to use packgoats on public land.’
All I can say is thank goodness for these people. After all, this is America. The bastion of world freedom. If they take away our right to travel with packgoats, what’s next? Probably a ban on umbrellas, or a moratorium on recliners. It never ends, with the Fun Police.
And make no mistake, there are goat-haters in our midst, and plenty of them. Already, according to the NAPgA, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service have closed a lot of public land to goat access. The cads. And Congress does nothing. Are we going to stand for this? The NAPgA says naaaaaaaay.
I’m thinking the WCBGC could coordinate with the NAPgA to promote goat access. The two could work hand in hand, or hand in hoof, to raise awareness about the nefarious government attempts to ban goats from public lands. The time has come for goat lovers to unite and make their voices heard. Or herd. Or something.
And now I’ve discovered another goat-related activity that would be perfect for the cookoff crowd: Goat Yoga. This idea was evidently thought up by Lainey Morse, who raises goats on her farm in Albany, Oregon. Lainey has started charging people to lie down on towels, facedown, in her goat pen, and allow the goats to walk on them. I’m sure you think I’m making this up. I’m not.
If you’ve ever watched goat kids play, you know they like to jump up on anything available. I guess they do that with the people lying in their pen. And a lot of people evidently want to be walked on by goats. Lainey says she has a waiting list of over 900 people. The folks in Oregon obviously don’t get out much.
Lainey has quit her job, and does the goat yoga thing full-time. She’s currently in negotiation with Oregon State University to provide goat yoga on their campus, and she’s got a deal going with Emerson Vineyards to start ‘Sunset Goat Yoga & Wine Tasting.’ She even offers a line of goat yoga apparel, which is presumably machine washable.
According to the story in the Oregonian, Lainey said, “People are desperate for something that is pure and peaceful. It’s really hard to be in pain and sad when there’s baby goats jumping around you.” If you’ve ever had a baby goat step on your foot, with those razor-sharp hooves, you might disagree.
But goat kids are about the cutest animal there is, so I’m sure they cheer people up. Especially people so despondent they lie around in goat pens.
This Labor Day Weekend the WCBGC is liable to be the best ever, if they listen to my suggestions. And if they don’t, they can’t blame me when the whole thing tanks.
Either way, I’m keeping this shirt . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who never kids around. Much. Write to him at [email protected].