While most Americans look toward Pennsylvania for weather predictions come Feb. 2, Texans look to the Hill Country, at a nine-banded armadillo named Bee Cave Bob.
Texas’ Armadillo Day isn’t quite as old as the 136-year-Groundhog Day, but it does boast some uniquely Texan charm.
Here’s the low-down
It all takes place at the “West Pole,” a ranch in Bee Cave.
Bob’s job is largely the same as Punxatawney Phil’s. Bob’s handler Ralph Fisher brings the guest of honor to the West Pole, and when the time is right, he emerges. If Bob enjoys his time in the sun, it’s an early spring. If he turns back toward the darkness, buckle down for six more weeks of winter.
Because everything’s bigger in Texas, Bob likes to bring a little more fortune-telling into the mix. Legend goes that the direction he walks can foresee the political climate of the year, as well.
History of Armadillo Day
When we said “West Pole” earlier, we weren’t kidding. The Texas legislature officially declared Bee Cave as the planet’s geographical west pole in 2007.
A few years later, a group called “The Benevolent Knights of the Raccoon” started Armadillo Day on the spot. Texans have been gathering to listen to music and watch the spectacle ever since.
According to Fisher, “The guys decided early on, ‘Why should Texans need a Pennsylvania rodent to tell us what our weather will be?’”
Telling the future
Armadillo Day was canceled in 2021 and in 2022, due to the COVID pandemic and foul weather. In 2020, however, Bob predicted an early spring — and it turned out to be the second-hottest March and third-warmest year on record.
So, will Bee Cave Bob be right this year? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out.