After going without a four-legged mayor for several years, the unincorporated community of Lajitas has a new goat at the helm. Clay Moore Henry was elected earlier this month to lead the Brewster County desert town on the western edge of Big Bend National Park. He’s a direct descendent of the town’s first and famously beer-drinking goat mayor, Clay Henry.
Belonging to the Lajitas Trading Post at the Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa, Clay Henry rose to fame in the 1970s when locals discovered his love for beer. He became an instant celebrity and the town’s main tourist attraction. He appeared in several movies, was featured in on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, and even drank beer with Willie Nelson.
Clay took office in the late 1980s and held the position for a few years until he was killed in a fight with another goat. Today, visitors can view Clay Henry stuffed and mounted with a Lone Star in his mouth at the Terlingua Trading Company.
A succession of goat mayors--three or more, depending on whom you ask--followed Clay Henry until 2008, when the goat mayor at the time got sick and abdicated his position.
Debbie Garrison, the so-called “goat girl” who cares for Clay Moore Henry, says the town missed having a goat mayor. There wasn’t a day that went by that someone didn’t ask about the goat, she says. Last year, Ruffin Moore, the general manager of Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa, brought up the idea of electing a new goat mayor, Garrison says.
“Originally, they just wanted any old billy to fit the bill, but I was not happy with that,” Garrison says. “It just so happened that, on site, there was a pregnant nanny who just happened to be a daughter of the late Clay Henry. How cool is that?”
But by the time Clay Moore Henry was born, other opponents threw their names in the mayoral hat, including Pancho the Mule and two human candidates named Tate Trebig, a builder and heavy equipment operator, and singer/songwriter George Goss, who ran with the election motto “Respect the Goat, Give George Your Vote."
On July 5, Clay Moore Henry accepted his nomination at Goat-A-Palooza, a free pool party held at Maverick Ranch RV Park pool complete with live music, brisket and—naturally—beer.
The question remains as to whether Clay Moore Henry will follow in his grandfather’s footsteps by holding court at the old Trading Post by day and drinking up to 40 beers a night at the local Thirsty Goat Saloon.
At only six months old, Clay Moore Henry and his first lady, a nanny named Annabelle Clay-Reese, don’t drink beer--at least not yet.
“I add that when they are old enough to make their own decisions, then perhaps they can, but until then, our politicians work for peanuts, literally,” Garrison says. “They don’t mind drinking Gatorade from baby bottles, but that is not very macho.”