Willy the rodeo goat, who has lassoed the hearts of residents in a rural South Texas county ever since she escaped from an arena enclosure on July 15, has been found.
Runaway Rodeo Goat – Found
No one will ever know what Willy the rodeo goat’s exact plan was when she escaped from her enclosure at a South Texas livestock show last month.
Willy may not have known, either.
No one could have predicted the incident would lead to a weeks-long search that garnered national headlines and put a spotlight on rural Willacy County, which is only about 30 miles from Texas’ southernmost point and has a population of roughly 20,000.
The elusive goat had hidden in sugar cane and corn fields, avoiding capture for weeks in Willacy County, about 300 miles (483 km) southwest of Houston.
Residents searched for her on horses, all-terrain vehicles, and by drone. Local businesses aided the search by donating 90 prizes and gifts worth $5,000 in total — including brisket, bales of hay, and beef jerky — to be given to whoever found her.
Ricardo Rojas III, a 16-year-old high school junior, managed to grab hold of Willy in his backyard with the help of family friend Sammy Ambriz. Rojas’ house is about a mile from where Willy escaped.
Neighbors had talked about possible goat sightings nearby so Rojas’ dad told him to grab some ropes and they hatched a plan.
Alison Savage, president of the Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair, said they believed Willy was getting enough to eat and drink while she was on the lam but worried that predators, including coyotes, might get her.
“We had her checked over just to make sure that she is getting healthy,” Savage said. “We plan to let ol’ Miss Willy lead a very sweet life going forward.”
The search also brought together many of Willacy County’s 20,000 residents, many who grow crops and raise livestock, as families went out to search for Willy.
“Even a little rodeo goat is important and has shown us and taught us that we need to look after each other,” Savage said, “and we need to take care of one another, and together, there’s pretty much nothing we can’t do.”
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