The first Jackalope I saw in the wild had a red nose. The cowboy riding him had saddlebags full of toys for good girls and boys. Had the creature been any larger, it would have taken more than one cowboy to handle him. Turns out, for all their mischievous natures, this ol’ Jackalope was as friendly as can be.
It’s been several years since I laid eyes on him. It was at the annual Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. Amid the hustle and bustle of the crowd, the smell of hot cocoa steaming out of large mugs, and the razzle, dazzle of lights that make up the festival, there was something that said “home” when I came upon the Jackalope.
I will not argue for or against Texans being the originator of the legend of the Jackalope. The folks in Wyoming make a strong case. I will leave that decision to the experts. However, a cowboy riding a Jackalope in the middle of a park in the heart of Austin surrounded by Austinites, sort of says, “Austin original.”
And the Austin Jackalope is not only spotted in at year’s end. Take a trip downtown, and you’ll see numerous examples. In fact, check on Sixth Street, even before the bars are open, and you’ll Jackalopes.
Like most Austinites I know, the Jackalope is mischievous. Legends tell how cowboys sitting around their campfires at night heard the Jackalopes singing back the songs they sang. Chase a Jakalope or an Austinite around, and you’ll hear, “over here,” “No, over here” from multiple locations. By the time you decide which voice to follow, you’ll find it was somebody else shouting, and that person is not who or what you were looking for. And just like the Jackalope, Austinintes don’t mince words. They like a good time, good talk, and good friends. If these qualities are some you share, then know that you too can be friends with an