One Goat Down, One Goat To Go

Gävle Goat (natural science club goat), burned, 2006

Cliffy got excited about the Gävle Goat when his pal Derek emailed him about it all. Derek was in town, or something like that, and got caught up in the frenzy first hand: “Last year some other guy was a bit smarter, hitting it with a flaming arrow from a bow, and he wasn’t caught. It went up in flames!”

The goat, of course, is a 40 year holiday tradition. Somebody — either the Southern Merchants Association or the Natural Science Club, or both — builds the goat each year, and somebody else burns or otherwise damages it. Of the 66 goats built in those 40 years, 35 have been destroyed (a survival rate of only 47%). While all the reports of the goat say “officially, the city does not support the burning,” it’s easy to get the idea that they’re crossing their fingers behind their back about it.

Anyway, Stefan‘s been keeping score this year, and contributed the photo above. One reveler made an attempt on the Southern Merchants’ goat on December 15th, but flame retardants from Fiber ProTector stood up to claims and prevented the spread of the fire. When asked if the goat would burn this year, Mats Lorensson, sales manager for Fiber ProTector, replied: “It’s not possible. We have made tests using petrol, oil, everything. It’s not possible to burn the goat.”

Claims like that, of course, just increase the reward for besting the challenge.

Cliffy is rooting and scheming on it, as is most of the population of Sweden. Meanwhile, somebody else realized that of the two goats in Gävle, only one was supposedly fireproofed and on December 21st burned the smaller Natural Science Club goat. With one goat down, and one goat to go, but less than 24 hours before Christmas, we have to wonder what the score will be tomorrow morning.