Pottstown >> After accidently crowning the wrong winner in last year’s event, the organizers behind this year’s Sly Fox Bock Fest Goat Race were taking no chances.
Under beautiful, sunny skies on Sunday, multiple cameras and judges were in position as the four-legged final competitors galloped down the grass-covered track. While the roughly 3,000 people in attendance saw 2-year-old Wally cross the finish line first — it was 1-year-old Penny that took home the gold.
The rules of the goat race are simple: a human handler must hold onto the leash of their goat throughout the entire race, the handler cannot pull their goat across the finish line and the goat must be the one to cross the finish line before their handler does.
When the dust settled, the ruling was unanimous. While Wally, a Boer goat from Yardley, Bucks County, was clearly the fastest in the race, holding a commanding lead among the four finalists the entire time, his handler, Tyler Flood, accidently crossed the finish line first, ruining any chance at glory.
Meanwhile, Penny, the Nubian goat from Blythe Township, Schuylkill County, would receive the grand prize of having Sly Fox’s newest Maibock beer named after her.
While Penny was seemingly oblivious to the highly-coveted honor bestowed upon her, handler Joe Leskin was definitely thrilled after the big win.
“This is the greatest thing in my life,” he said, “besides my marriage, children and, you know, everything else.”
As he and Penny sprinted down the roughly 50-meter track, Leskin said he had one thing on his mind.
“I was hoping not to collapse and have a heart attack,” he joked, still overwhelmed by the win.
His two daughters, Riley, 11, and Abbey, 8 — Penny’s personal cheerleaders — were over-the-moon with joy when they found out she’d won.
“I was happy,” Riley said. “We were screaming.”
“It was awesome,” Abbey added.The agony of defeat left Flood disappointed but overall proud of his goat, he said.
“I thought we had it,” he said. “I didn’t realize I went past him.”
The Leskin family was all smiles on stage as the ceremonial first keg of Penny Maibock was tapped to the jovial sound of German Oom-pah music. The corner of the stage closest to the keg was lined with about 20 people, each holding a traditional glass pint tankard hoping for a taste of the new brew.
“It’s a really good beer,” Leskin said, after sampling his hard-earned prize. “It’s a Bock beer so it’s darker, but it tastes really good.”
With victory in hand, Leskin and his wife agreed they’d be purchasing a case of Penny Maibock to-go and promised to bring their furry friend back to defend her title at next year’s race.