By Kristen Miller
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN - The Wright County Fair is once again hosting the annual Central Minnesota Donkey and Mule Fun Show at the fairgrounds in Howard Lake Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21.
Chair of the event is Ron Denn, who is also horse superintendent for the county fair. He is expecting the event to bring in even more participants and spectators than the first annual event that started last year.
Denn estimated several hundred were in attendance last year, and is planning to triple that this year.
All of the events are free for spectators.
According to Denn, some people are traveling 500 miles for the event and coming from as far away as eastern Wisconsin and southern Iowa.
More and more people are finding that mules are excellent for trail riding, and are fun family pets, according to Denn.
They also eat 40 percent less than a horse does, according to Denn.
“They are fun to drive and ride,” he said.
Some may wonder what the difference is between a mule and a donkey.
The donkey goes back to Biblical times, according to Denn.
Mules are a hybrid by breeding a male donkey with a mare horse and therefore have both donkey and horse traits. They are also sterile, making them unable to reproduce, Denn explained.
A hinny is the opposite of a mule in that it is bred with a male horse and a female donkey, and is also sterile.
Denn was told that when training mules, it’s like training three different animals a donkey, a horse, and a hybrid.
The event begins Friday, June 19 at 7 p.m. with the Wild, Wild West Donkey and Mule Trail Race, which is new this year.
Then, Saturday, June 20, beginning at 9 a.m. is the donkey and mule fun show with several events including the top wrangler challenge, which is $25 for entry.
All other events, such as the halter classes, are $3 per event with prizes and ribbons awarded for the first, second, and third places.
At 7 p.m. Saturday is the ranch cutting class, where participants can learn how to herd cattle while on the back of a mule.
Beginning Sunday, June 21, Steve Edwards from the Queen Valley Mule Ranch in Queen Valley, AZ will be conducting mule and donkey clinics including colt foundation and trail riding with confidence.
Riding and packing clinics will also be before and after the clinics.
Also that day is the donkey and mule auction coordinated by Troy Beise with a performance viewing from 9 to 11 a.m. with the action following.
Also at the event will be the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation with a display of adoption animals.
For more information about any of the events visit www.wrightcountyfair.com/donkeymule, or call Denn at (612) 423-0562.