Pottstown >> It appears the luck of a lucky penny can rub off. After last year’s Sly Fox Brewery Bock Fest and Goat Race saw Penny, the Nubian goat from Blythe Township, Schuylkill County, take home the gold, many were wondering if she could defend her title again this year. While that didn’t happen, the heart of a champion apparently runs in the family.
Two-year-old Blue Hazel, Penny’s sister, crossed the finish line first to become this year’s winner. The brewery’s newest Maibock beer takes its name after her to commemorate the victory.
Standing next to his two daughters, Riley, 12, and Abbey, 9, in the victor’s circle just past the finish line, Blue Hazel’s handler, Joseph Leskin, said he was ecstatic to win two years in a row.
“It feels good,” he said wearing a blue shirt that said ‘Goat Whisperer’ and a cap with a Superman symbol on the front. “We won last year with our other goat. Her sister this year won it. We’re two for two.”
Morning showers, a dark overcast and cooler temperatures throughout the afternoon didn’t stop more than 3,000 people from making the trek to Pottstown starting at 11 a.m. to see one of the best four-legged races in the area. Many chomped down on soft pretzels and sipped different flavors of ale while they cheered for their favorite competitor and enjoyed a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
Among those in attendance were Kermit Ohlinger, who, dressed in traditional lederhosen, kept the spirit of the event going by playing the accordion, and Anna Rossmeier, the festival’s official hops queen. Brewmaster Brian O’Reilly once again served as master of ceremonies.
“When we first raced goats in Phoenixville, we never thought it would turn into this,” he told the raucous crowd. “You guys are crazy!”
Hundreds lined the fences of both sides of the approximately 50-meter stretch of grass as more than 40 goats sprinted from one end to the other during the various heats. The rules of a goat race are simple: a human handler must hold onto the leash of the goat throughout the entire race; the handler cannot pull the goat across the finish line, and the goat must be the one to cross the finish line before the handler.
In the end the Leskin family was all smiles on stage as the ceremonial first keg of Blue Hazel 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 to sample the sweet taste of victory.