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Thread: Popular annual race has three legged champs going against one another

  1. #1
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    Default Popular annual race has three legged champs going against one another

    EAST PIKELAND — A legend may return and a young competitor could prove he’s no flash-in-the-pan.

    For the 15th year, goats will race as part of the Sly Fox Bockfest for the honor of having this year’s special Maibock named in their honor.

    Despite hints at retirement by her coaches last year, Peggy, the first three-legged goat to win the annual race — which she did in both 2011 and 2012 — is rumored to be returning for a fourth go-round and a chance to unseat training-partner and 2013 champion Simon.

    “Last year, we crossed over the 10,000 people mark,” Sly Fox Beer Manager Jeff Tancini said of the festival held in the Maple Lawn Shopping Center parking lot. “We think we’ll hit 12 to 13,000 people this year.”

    That would be a record crowd cheering on as Simon, a three-legger like Peggy, attempts to follow-up last year’s success.

    Although the festival always has a German tinge due to its celebration of bock-style beers, there’s also a side-theme.

    Since last year’s festival landed on May 5, the festival had a Cinco De Mayo flavor.

    This year, with the event scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4th, Star Wars is the side-theme.

    “Since it’s May the 4th, it’s ‘May the 4th be with you,’” Tancini said. “It’s carrying through all our T-shirts, our mugs have the goat head with stormtrooper helmet, (and) the kids shirts have Ewoks riding the goats.”

    Star Wars or not, Emil Schanta and his band will return with their German beer hall brand of music, Tancini said.

    One of the reasons why Tancini expects growth is a new shuttle.

    A shuttle bus has regularly operated out of the Kimberton Fairgrounds for the festival, but the new loop will head to and from downtown Phoenixville.

    “We have very good relationships with the bars downtown as far as carrying our beer,” Tancini said. “We like to pay it forward to afterwards have people go downtown.”

    The shuttle to downtown Phoenixville has stops at the intersections of Hall and Main streets and Main and Bridge streets. It will operate from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Tancini said, like every year, there’s “a ton of excitement, a ton of anxiety” leading up to the event.

    “There’s always that scary chance of rain, but we’re always excited, pumped for the event,” he said. “Every year, as we’re cleaning up, we go, ‘365 days, let’s go.’ We’re always planning, always excited.”

    More than anything, Tancini said his favorite part of the festival is seeing the transformation of the place he works every day.

    “It’s a whole different world here,” he said. “We have very good customers that allow us to have this event here. Nobody gets too wild or too crazy. They have a fun time.”

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    --- Officiating mistake yields different Goat Race champion

    Even in the high stakes, super-serious world of goat racing, mistakes are made.

    Although Jixxer crossed the finish line first Sunday in the finals of the 2014 Goat Races at Sly Fox’s annual Bockfest, a judging error led to competitor Spartacus being named the ultimate winner.

    “When Ron (Detwiler Jr., Jixxer’s handler) hit the finish line, they told him he was first and told him to wait right there,” said Heidi Evans, the president of Recycled Tails, a non-profit animal rescue that owns Jixxer. “A minute later they were announcing a different goat as the winner. We feel that someone got our goat confused with Spartacus.”

    It seems like they did.

    “It wasn’t until a full team of judges was assembled to review the photo finish and newly available video footage that we realized a mistake had been made,” said Brian O’Reilly, Sly Fox’s brewmaster who emcees the races, according to a release posted to the brewery’s website. “Our finish line official, a judge we have employed at this position for more than a decade, made a critical and, for him, uncharacteristic error.”

    Video taken by The Mercury appears to show a tight pack of three vying for first at the finish line with Spartacus trailing just behind them.

    The champion of the annual goat races gets the year’s special Maibock named after them. In the aftermath of the race, Spartacus was brought on stage where Emil Schanta’s polka band was performing for the tapping of the brew.

    Evans said when the Sly Fox personnel realized their mistake, they told her they couldn’t do anything initially, but that they’d do something about it the next day.

    To make good, O’Reilly determined that he will make a special brew in honor of Jixxer and invite the goat “as guest of honor” to the debut of it.

    “We really regret that this happened and we will employ every means necessary to make certain that it doesn’t happen ever again,” O’Reilly said.

    A step toward that may have already been taken.

    “We cannot tolerate less than perfection in an event this important and, as Bock Fest Commissioner, my office will be conducting a swift and comprehensive review of all race officials,” O’Reilly said in the release.

    That investigation proved truly swift, as it had been resolved by the end of the press release, three paragraphs later.

    “At press time, it was learned that the finish line official had been revoked of his duties for all future competitions, and was downgraded to trash and recycling collection for the 2015 Sly Fox Brewing Company Bock Festival and Goat Races. There was no word yet on whether the National Goat Race Officials Union planned to appeal this decision,” the release concluded, tongue firmly planted in cheek.

  3. #3


    Check Two did you play Horse Racing, and if you do did you play The Kentucky Derby?

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