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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mule show a 'great' success

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Terry Kirkland of West Virginia takes his mules for a joyride the day after coming in second in his driving class at the Great Celebration Mule and Donkey Show last week. Flipper and Dixie nearly perfectly matched a hard feat to accomplish with spotted mules. Kirkland has been coming to the mule show for 9 years and is already looking forward to coming back next year.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves) [Order this photo]
Hundreds of donkeys and mules, their owners, trainers and fans visited the Celebration show grounds last week for the Great Celebration Mule and Donkey Show.

The Great Celebration Mule and Donkey Show wasn't just about classes and competition -- it was also about wheeling and dealing. Clay Wilson of Sparta took advantage of the show to let everyone know his mule Daisy was on the market.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)
It was, you could say, a braying success.

"It went great," said Dale Barnett, marketing and media director for Calsonic Arena. "We had great classes, the crowd was really into it. The rain felt good and the humidity didn't."

While attendance was slightly down this year, said Barnett, the number of participants was slightly up.

"We had 10 more animals and 16 more entries this year," he said.

Part of this season's success was due to some new classes. Besides the new jack stock division, where the donkeys used to breed mules are shown under slightly different standards and rules, there were the "Silver" classes -- for amateurs older than 50.

"They were very well received," said Barnett.

Visitors came to the multi-day show and sale from all over the country -- and out of it. There were several Canadian visitors here to check out the action.

"I met one woman from Ottawa and a couple from Alberta," said Barnett. "They owned mules and they were very interested in our show, especially the mule pull."

The winning team of mules pulled two and half times their combined body weight, he added.

Even those who have spent a lot of times with mules and at mule shows were impressed by the Celebration's version.

"The judges were brought in from California and South Dakota and Oklahoma for the saddle mule part and they were very impressed and complimentary of how well the show ran and the quality of the animals," said Barnett.

The Saturday morning sale by the Reese brothers brought some high prices in for the animals, too.

"Attendance was good with 68 consigned mules and donkeys going through the sale," said Barnett. "The variety of animal offered at this sale offered something for everyone in attendance."

The top five mules together brought $17,900 with an average $3,580. The top 15 mules brought $35,100 with an average of $2,340 and the top selling team brought $7,600.

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