The buck of the year 2023: Figo with his owners Bernadette and Florian Zeitler © Andrea Jaksch
On Saturday afternoon, a large majority of visitors voted Figo Bock of the Year 2023. At the Bachhauser Goaßbockfest, six hairy competitors competed against the locals. Significantly less than planned, because the guests from Wallgau had to cancel at short notice. The reason: mite or lice infestation.
Bachhausen – The smell of grilled sausage and freshly tapped beer is mixed with the very own and very intense smell of billy goats. Or rather, a buck: Figo. The six-year-old Passiria mountain goat with a remarkable horn span of 1.10 meters struts between the well-occupied beer benches. With the support of his owners Bernadette and Florian Zeitler, he places one hoof next to the other in order to reach the stage via the small rung staircase, which had been set up especially for the Bachhauser Goaßbockfest on the meadow on Mühlenweg. "The buck of the year has been decided," Benedikt Demmler, chairman of the Bachhauser Goaßbockverein (GBV), shouts into the microphone: "Figo!". The more than 500 visitors applaud loudly. The buck gets a blue and white sash around the neck, the owners around the upper body. In addition, there is a pot and a bottle of champagne – as well as "fame and glory", as Demmler says. While Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler happily hand out the sparkling wine, Figo stands stoically and seems to enjoy his big moment. "He stinks like a winner," says Benedikt Demmler appreciatively.
The Goaßbockfest on Saturday afternoon could not have gone better for the Goaßbockverein. In sunshine and more than 20 degrees, the event, which takes place every four years, started at 14 p.m. with a goat parade from the maypole towards the festival meadow. Once there, the Lüßbach brass band played the Bavarian anthem to hoist the white and blue flag. All this required several months of preparation. "I spoke to the brewery on the phone for the first time around Christmas time," says Demmler, who is hosting the festival for the second time. However, he took over the office of the board of directors only two years ago from his sister Bernadette, the owner of Figo. "My father founded the club in 1979 out of a beer mood." Since then, the festival, at which the most beautiful buck is chosen, has taken place regularly - and is unique in the region.
Association prepares festival for months
"I don't know of any other village that organizes such a festival. Only we are that crazy," says Demmler and laughs. We, that is about 100 members, almost every eighth inhabitant is part of the GBV. "This is an association that thrives on the village and its members," says Bernadette Zeitler. Although the festival is something unique, it should not become a mass attraction, that is important to the citizens of Bachhaus. "It's a village festival and it should stay that way," says Demmler. That's why he and his team didn't expect so many crowds. All the beer table sets were fully occupied, parents showed their children the kids in the petting zoo, and there was a lot of activity at the bar. "We even ran out of beer for a short time." 1000 litres of the Starnberg brewery had been provided by the GBV, 600 were delivered in a very short time. "Fortunately, a Bachhauser can serve 200 people," says Demmler with a wink.
Among the visitors were Mayor Rupert Steigenberger and former Mayor Rupert Monn. For one it was the first celebration as a minister, the other "was with everyone", as Monn assures. While the audience sat together with bratwurst and beer, the competition trestles were prepared for the performance on stage at around 16 p.m. At the far end of the meadow, tied to a wooden pole and protected from the sun with an umbrella, the owners cleaned up their animals and tied a wreath of greenery around them. "Unfortunately, six bucks failed at short notice," says Demmler. It is almost a tradition that, in addition to the bucks of the GBV, animals from Wallgau also compete. "They are our strongest competition. Today while grooming, the owner noticed that there was something jumping around in the fur, probably mites or lice." A launch was therefore unthinkable. The chances for the Bachhauser club to bring home the title increased exponentially.
The couple Patrick and Andrea Bachhausen came all the way from Solingen to secure T-shirts. © Andrea Jaksch
One after the other, moderator Demmler introduced the animals. Smell, breed, horn span and bag weight played a role – although the latter was only estimated. His introductory sentence: "A Goaßbock is a great creature. When you stroke him, your hand smells like it two weeks later, every three days he breaks out of his stable, and a kick is also regularly included." While owners such as Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler or Wolfi Sayin are passionate Goaß breeders, others have come to this special hobby rather involuntarily. GBV breed warden Andreas Schaller even offered his Amadeus for sale.
Audience votes for "Bock of the Year"
For about an hour, the visitors were allowed to vote for their favorites by ballot, after which the GBV team counted at a rapid pace. In the meantime, however, there was still a highlight in the program. "Today we have two very special guests who have travelled more than 600 kilometres," said Demmler. The connection to the village in the municipality of Berg: the name. Patrick and Andrea Bachhausen drove from Solingen to Lake Starnberg to experience the festival and received a T-shirt as a gift. "We found out about the place through Google and visited here once last year. The invitation to the party came spontaneously on Monday," says Andrea Bachhausen.
Birthday boy Maxi Huber (center) received a small Goaßbock as a gift from Benedikt Demmler, Jakob Oberrieder (left) and Simon Oberrieder (right). © Andrea Jaksch
Shortly after 18 p.m., the time had come for the winner's trestle to be announced. In addition to Figo, who was named after the former Portuguese footballer, Ignatz and Amadeus made it onto the winners' podium. But there were also winners in the audience. Tom Block was drawn from the visitors who bet on the winner's trestle. In addition to a meal voucher, he was presented with a snow-white baby Goaßbock named Maradona. Overwhelmed, he accepted his gift. Maybe the young animal will be the next buck of the year.