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Bragg Creek's billy goat ambassador an instant hit

Bragg Creek is a hamlet with mountain views, a charming small-town vibe and a billy goat that wanders the streets every Saturday.

Bragg Creek is a hamlet with mountain views, a charming small-town vibe and a billy goat that wanders the streets every Saturday.

Meet Hendrix – the hamlet’s four-hooved ambassador and a part-time helper for summer students collecting tourism data.

"He's a very calm, relaxed goat," said Jennifer Jurkowski, an administrator and public relations specialist for the Bragg Creek and Area Chamber of Commerce, and Hendrix's owner. "He has no problem with people coming up to him and taking pictures. He just sits there and enjoys it."

In a community that relies on tourism  – past summers have seen visitors from the United States and Europe – Jurkowski said Bragg Creek has felt the impact of pandemic-related travel restrictions. Since most of the hamlet's visitors this summer will be from Alberta, she added Hendrix's presence is another reason for people to visit Bragg Creek for a day trip. 

"People do come out just to see Hendrix, and they'll bring their kids," she said. "It's just a really fun thing to do."

This summer marks Hendrix's second year on the job, helping the hamlet's mobile visitor ambassadors (MVAs) overcome their hesitancy of talking to strangers, Jurkowski said.

Data the MVAs collect include where visitors are coming from, how many people per visitor group, what they enjoy about Bragg Creek and what they wish the hamlet offered. The MVAs will also answer any questions tourists have about the community.

"It was hard for them to approach people," Jurkowski said. "So we came up with introducing Hendrix.

"He's obviously an ice-breaker, and people now come up to them, they don't have to go searching for people."

Decked out in an orange backpack filled with stickers and brochures, Hendrix has been an instant hit, she said. His popularity has even inspired the creation of "Hendrix for Mayor" T-shirts. 

But Hendrix, a previous mascot for the soccer team Jurkowski's kids played for, almost didn't get the gig.

"I was actually going to come and have my donkey be the ambassador,” she said with a laugh. “So, I brought him into town one day to see how he liked it, and he did not want anything to do with it. He broke away from me and ran back into the horse trailer."

Fortunately, Hendrix took to the role more than Jurkowski's donkey did and now enjoys the attention it brings.

"He's great in crowds...and he loves the attention of local restaurants – and they will give him salads," Jurkowski said.

Although the MVAs are wearing face masks and respecting physical distance, people are still welcome to come up and give Hendrix a pet, she said, and will be provided with hand wipes after.

Kate F. Mackenzie,
Follow me on Twitter @katefmack







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