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Avid search for missing Texas rodeo goat bringing residents of a small rural county together

The search for a rodeo goat that has been missing for more than a week has the residents of a rural South Texas county enthralled as they are using horses, ATVs and even contemplating utilizing a helicopter to find the missing animal

Missing Texas Goat

This photo provided by the Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair shows a rodeo goat named Willy, who went missing on July 15, 2023, in a rural South Texas county. The search for Willy has residents enthralled as they’re using horses, ATVs and even contemplating using a helicopter to locate the missing animal. (Alma Barron/Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair via AP)

The Associated Press

RAYMONDVILLE, Texas — First there was Gone Girl. Now there is Gone Goat.

The search for a rodeo goat that has been missing for more than a week has the residents of a rural South Texas county enthralled as they are using horses, ATVs and even contemplating utilizing a helicopter to find the missing animal.

Local businesses have donated nearly 90 prizes and gifts worth more than $5,000, including brisket, frescoes and salon service, as a reward for the person who finds the goat.

“This has just gotten bigger than we ever dreamed. Our county is a really small county, about 20,000 population and a mostly agriculture, farming and ranching community. And we’re very much one big family … So, we’re excited that everybody wants to find our goat,” said Alison Savage, president of the Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair.

Residents, including families, have been scouring cotton and sugar cane fields since the goat escaped from a pen in the county’s rodeo arena near Raymondville on July 15 following a youth rodeo. On Sunday, possible goat tracks were spotted in a cotton field near Lyford, south of Raymondville.

When the goat first went missing, it didn’t have a name. But after a poll on the livestock show’s Facebook page, the goat was named Willy, short for Willacy County, Savage said. While the goat has a name, Savage said officials are not sure if Willy is a boy or a girl.

The livestock show has been posting regular updates on its Facebook page. The search has also been a boon for the livestock show, as residents and businesses have donated hundreds of dollars to make improvements to the nonprofit’s arena and other facilities.

“He’s hiding from us somewhere. But we’re getting closer. We’re going to find him” Savage said.

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