Must love dogs in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. That’s the town with the means – nay, the genius – to elect a strapping young pup named Wilbur Beast as the new Mayor. At six-years-old, the French Bulldog may appear to be one of the youngest to serve in the office. But weirder things have happened in politics, right? (Plus, that’s about 42-years in human time). We though we might take a little tour of the unique town he calls home…
Rabbit Hash was founded in the early 19th century, and gained its namesake when a local man declared that he would serve rabbit hash for Christmas supper, as there was such an ample rabbit population. Other villagers nicknamed him “Rabbit Hash” and it stuck, eventually becoming the known name of the village itself. Sitting pretty on the Ohio River, steamboats began stopping to order the famous hash and the rest is history. For what it’s worth: a rabbit has never been mayor of Rabbit Hash.
The population is 426 folks as of the 2018 census, and it appears that the hot spot in town is the Rabbit Hash Mercantile Center and the General Store (across the street from one another). The latter was established in 1830, and it’s where you can get antiques, potions, notions, sundries and more. Note: the general store did endorse another competing candidate, a labrador named Poppy, for mayor. But we’ll let bygones be bygones.
“Little documented history of Rabbit Hash actually survives,” explains the General Store, “primarily because devastating Ohio River floods in 1884, 1913, and 1937 ruined many records. There is still mud in the store’s attic crawl space from the historic 1937 flood, and the only reason it is still here is that it’s anchored securely to the ground by a series of iron rods.”
There’s a pretty cute Rabbit Hash B&B as well, with a great view of the *drumroll* General Store and just a stone’s throw away from the controversial Creation Museum, if that’s your thing.
As with all good things, the mayoral-animal tradition began in 1998. The first elected canine mayor was Goofy Borneman-Calhoun, a dog of “unknown parentage” who helped pave the way for progressives like Lucy Lou, a border collie and the town’s first female mayor. After Lucy’s passing in 2018, the race became so increasingly competitive that locals decided to give runner-up Ambassador positions to second and third place candidates, in the event that anything should happen to doggo-elect. Check out some posters from campaigns past:
Enter Wilbur, who is replacing incumbent pit bull Brynneth Pawltro with a whopping 13,143 vote victory (the most of any mayoral candidate in the town’s history). His human and campaign manager Amy Noland told NBC that things are off to a smooth start. “Wilbur is handling the stress of the new job pretty well,” says Noland, “He’s done a lot of interviews locally, he’s had a lot of pets, a lot of belly scratches and a lot of ear rubs.”
You’re probably wondering: How? Why? Well, it’s simple. The town is so small, it’s never had a mayor. And with elections being as stressful as they are – especially in 2020 – the town continually welcomes the tradition of including a more lighthearted race in their news cycle. We couldn’t agree more.
Learn more about Rabbit Hash here.