On Labor Day weekend, everything goes to the goats in Brady. Participants from across the country look forward to the first Saturday of September’it’s the World Championship Barbeque Goat Cook-Off. And the mystery begins… This unique tradition started in Brady in1973 as a fundraiser for the Jaycees, but has evolved over the years. The Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce now coordinates the event and keeps adding distinctive touches throughout the event to keep it fun, interesting and new. This year’s new addition is the ‘Mystery Meat Challenge.’ Over the years, the Goat Cook-Off has remained just that’a barbeque cooking contest for goat meat. However, through some creative brain storming, the Chamber of Commerce fashioned the idea of challenging these ‘pros’ to cooking a meat that will be unknown to them until the evening before the cook-off. Contestants have the option of entering the Mystery Meat Challenge for an additional $25, which, in turn, is used to pay out the winnings for the contest. All of the contestants will receive the same meat, but no one knows what it will be. They will pick up the mystery meat at the Friday night welcome party, along with their goat. In the overall cook-off, the number of teams is limited to 150 registered entrants. Each team receives half a goat carcass and mesquite wood that is distributed at the sponsored welcome party Friday night. The goat meat or mystery meat being cooked may not be sampled by the general public or judges prior to judging, and cooking is not allowed to begin until daybreak Saturday. The entries will be judged around 3 p.m. that same afternoon. The entries and mystery meat are judged on taste, looks, aroma and texture. This year’s goat cook-off is brought to you by title sponsorsBrady National Bank and Olgebay Norton Industrial Sands. The top 10 judged teams are recognized, and the top five teams will receive cash prizes. Cooking teams that have won in the past can enter the Super Bowl division for additonal bragging rights. Locals will tell you that barbequein’ goat is an art mastered over time, and some of the teams have been doing it all 34 years. Teams are also judged for showmanship. Many decorate their campsites, dress in costumes or coordinating outfits and pick a theme for each year’s competition. The team with the overall best presentation wins the showmanship award. There are also competitions for best rig, small pit and large pit. Activities that day while contestants are cooking include: an arts and crafts fair with over 125 booths displaying only handmade items, the Goat Gallop (a 5K run or walk), horseshoe and washer pitching contests, a talent show, tug-of-war rally and other games and fantastic food booths all sponsored by area businesses and individuals. Since the general public is not allowed to sample goat from the contestants, Hard Eight Barbeque caters a goat meal at lunch for $8.50 per plate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Any remaining goat is for sale by the pound after 2 p.m. The day’s festivities are capped off with a dance at G. Rollie White Complex. This year’s entertainment is West Texas Hogg Maulies, Brandon Rhyder and Reckless Kelly. Advance tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce office or at the gate for $15. Coolers can be brought in for $5, but no glass bottles. The event draws thousands of people from across the country. This big event has made this small town something to talk about. Brady is proud of the tradition and looks forward to sharing it with everyone. Come visit The World Championship Barbeque Goat Cook-Off, the ‘Mystery of 2007,’ Labor Day weekend at Richards Park in Brady. For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 325-597-3491.