Many towns can claim that the mayor’s an old goat. Just as many can claim that the mayor sure likes his beer. Not many have the privilege of beer-drinking goat for mayor—it’s true. Clay Henry the III is the political pride and joy of Lajitas and most days he can be found holding court at the Trading Post. He’s sure to listen to your suggestions for his term if you bring along a cold beer when you stop by.
The whole thing started in fun and games back in the 80’s. The previous owner of Lajitas, Walter Mischer, invited a group of his friends and politicians from Houston to the town for a museum fundraiser. A freak snowstorm (yes, in the desert) hit Lajitas and Mischer’s group had the luxury of an extra night in town. While enjoying a beverage or two at what is now the Thirsty Goat Saloon, these fine gentleman decided it was time for Lajitas to have a mayor and one of Mischer’s friends, Tommy Steele, was “elected.”
The election of a Houstonian to mayor irked Bill Ivey, a local with generations of family at Lajitas, who claimed that if someone living in Houston can be mayor, his goat could be mayor.
So, the election campaign started. Bill Ivey’s friend from Uvalde, Jim Woodward, became the campaign manager and helped put out press releases for the goat. Bill’s platform was “you just have to give a darn,” while the Houston platform sought to get a snowplow for Lajitas.
The press releases struck a huge national interest and made all major newspapers in the U.S. – Ivey was giving radio interview daily and receiving letters of support for Clay Henry. Much to the dismay of the locals, the Houstonite Tommy Steele won this election.
When the time for a new election arrived, a poll tax was charged with all proceeds going to local charity. This time the roster was heated with Tommy Steele running for re-election against the Trading Post wooden Indian, a local ranch dog named “Buster,” and Clay Henry the goat. Clay Henry won this election by a landslide…and the tradition continues today with Clay Henry III.
March 2008 Update. Clay Henry III while still serving as Mayor of Lajitas has checked into rehab, obviously for health reasons.