The Minnesota Donkey and Mule Association was started in the early 70's with our Mission Statement "To promote donkeys and mules". This club came about after a horse show "let" us show mules during their intermission, with the horse show judge judging a halter class. A little boy came out of the ring with his little mule crying. Bud Burnap went up to the kid and asked him what was wrong, if the mule stepped on him or what. The little boy replied that the judge eliminated him "because I don't have nice enough clothes". Bud Burnap, Ivan Snyder, Deb Maage, John Engen, Lyle Griffen, Dick Schweinefus and others set out to organize a club where mule and donkey lovers could hold shows and rides without having to conform to horse show policies. Our basic philosophy is to have shows and trail rides with the emphasis on kids and fun.
We don't get too serious about exacting dress codes and fancy tack. We believe the mule should be judged on its merit, but on the other hand we do request clean, appropriate attire. You should show your mule to its best, and sometimes clean, appropriate dress can make the difference between placings if the mules are close in their conformation and/or performance. Boots ARE required for any rider. We request no T-shirts, tank tops or shorts. Tennis shoes are fine in game classes if you're not riding. Our show committee is in charge of setting the dress code each year.
Maurice Nissen, an oldtimer and founder of the Iowa Donkey and Mule Society always said to keep our shows simple. People would show and have fun if it didn't get too competitive and we followed horse show rules. Mules aren't horses. I once asked him why at the Iowa State Donkey and Mule Shows the awards were what they were. This was in '77. For First place at that show the winner got a halter and a leadrope. Second place you got just the halter, and third place got the rope. He said if the prizes were too fancy, people would get too competitive and not be there to have fun.
Founding Members Bud and Dorothy Burnap of Chatfield, Minnesota. Bud has some nice black mammoth jackstock, and is the craziest old guy (in his eighties) I ever knew. I have to call him weekly just to get a laugh. In the over 20 years I've known him, I've never seen him in person not wearing his bib overalls, so this picture is truly rare. You can see him in his bibs on the Mammoth Jackstock page.
We don't think a mule's conformation is enhanced by a $200 silver halter. Larry Christopher, the most respected and well known muleman there ever was, would place a mule at the top of the class if its halter was made of twine string (but it had to be solid)! The Western Pleasure classes do demand a western hat, boots and the proper leads to be taken by the mule. That is pretty basic stuff.
If you want to have a good time, join our club and attend our fun shows and trail rides. Check the Event Calendar page for more details.
Forrey Peterson in one of our fun events, the Dolly Parton Race.