Donkeys clear winners in donkey basketball game

Friday, March 1, 2013

The old Berryville gym was home to a donkey basketball game and even though baskets were scored it seems the real winners were probably... the donkeys. Regardless, the packed house roared with laughter as the obstinate animals were mostly uncooperative... and the donkeys didn't give in too much either.

Besides the basketball game there were stick horse races and an ugly woman contest, won by Bobcat basketball standout Austin Carr.

Take a look at the gallery for more pictures.

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  • Excuse me, but can you not look at that picture you have posted above and see something wrong there? When does it become OK for this selfish, always-about-me species called 'humans' to humiliate and torture animals in the name of éntertainment?' Since when is it OK for your publication to post this picture, thereby encouraging other idiotic organizations such as this one to hold a donkey basketball event? It is animal cruelty on all levels. The boy on that donkey is WAAAAAYYYYY too big for such a small animal. That animal is not built to carry this kind of load. As a rescuer of donkeys from the hands of abuse such as this, I am well aware of what kind of physical and emotional cruelty is inflicted upon these animals. IT IS NOT OK TO DO THIS. Obstinate animals you say? Obstinate only applies to the jackasses on their backs, not the animals. Donkeys are one of the smartest animals on earth. What appears as obstinance to you is simply disapproval of what's taking place from the donkey's viewpoint. Cheering, jeering, roaring crowds? I flat out cannot believe you or anyone else can condone this action.

    -- Posted by carolhuff on Sun, Mar 3, 2013, at 1:06 PM
  • After reading your article, I am writing as a very concerned donkey owner. These games may appear to be funny and enjoyable, but the animals are suffering for the enjoyment of people. Is cruelty to animals for the sake of raising money really something you want to teach the children at your schools? Children who are taught that cruelty to animals is okay are more likely to be abusive, cruel and socially-challenged as adults. There are other much more humane ways to raise money that do not do so at the expense of the animals.

    Most people do not realize how much weight a donkey can carry on its back -- we see pictures of the "beasts of burden" in other countries and it desensitizes us to what is safe and right. Donkey expert, Vicki Abbott, says, "The maximum safe loadweight is 25% of a mature donkey's own bodyweight. Mature is when they have a full mouth of adult teeth, until they do have all of their adult teeth, they are physically immature and should not carry any loadweight except their own body. So let's say the donkey is a 7 year old 48" gelding. His bodyweight in good condition would be about 500 pounds, making his maximum loadweight 125 pounds, but say he is a pudgy little fellow who tips the scales at 540 pounds. You would need to reduce his loadweight by the 40 pounds of blubber his frame is already burdened to carry, leaving his loadweight capacity at 85 pounds. That 85 pounds has to include the weight of the pack saddle and pack, or the weight of the saddle and rider."

    Consider that most people riding these donkeys do NOT weigh 85 -- 125 lbs (the person shown in the picture is MUCH too large for that donkey). Therefore the weight they are putting on the donkey's back and joints is causing damage that is irreparable, regardless of what the donkey owners tell you. They are making money off your use of the donkeys. Not to mention that people who ride horses and donkeys know that there are certain places where the weight should be distributed ... Sitting on the donkey's kidneys is NOT appropriate.

    Donkeys are gentle, quiet and stoic creatures. They do not show their pain outwardly (with my own donkeys, I have to be especially vigilant to identify when they are ill or sore because even though I know them well, they will hide pain from me). In addition, donkeys live for many years (the average age in First World countries is 30 -- 50 years) and the emotional scars of being thrown into a strange loud environment, pushed, pulled and smacked around and carrying strangers on their backs last a very long time. I have dealt with rescued donkeys and I can guarantee you their trust in humans is very difficult to get back after being mistreated in such a way.

    If the group wishes to use donkeys in fundraising, please look into humane donkey events like agility competitions, coon jumping competitions or pack burro racing instead of something so inhumane.

    Thank you.

    -- Posted by RhondaStock on Sun, Mar 3, 2013, at 2:26 PM
  • Re: Donkey Basketball

    I am also an owner of 2 donkeys and I agree 100%

    with Rhonda Stock and Carol Huff....This is flat cruelty to these animals you can clearly see they are not happy at the treatment being inflicted on them...not only that the surface they are on is extremely slippery to their hoofs and you can see that they are having anxiety over trying to keep themselves from falling. I would love to know who's idea this was and for that matter, I wonder why the owner of these donkey's has allowed this.

    We will be forwarding this onto the necessary organizations of protecting these animals from the mis-treatment here!

    -- Posted by Cherishedgirls3 on Sun, Mar 3, 2013, at 3:38 PM
  • You animal rights idiots need to get a life. Berryville has been hosting donkey basketball for years, YEARS!!! And you animal rights idiots are just now saying something about it? Get over it. The animals used are treated very humanely. They are well fed and well kept. They are trained to act the way they do. They respond to whistles and voice commands. The special shoes they wear are designed to prevent them from slipping. I seriously doubt any of you whiners were even there at the game. You see the picture in the paper and want to whine about it. Donkeys can EASILY carry 30 to 40% of their weight for EXTENDED periods of time. Which means they can carry more weight than that for shorter periods of time.

    As for you Carol, calling the youth of our county jackasses, you need your mouth taped shut and your attitude adjusted. How dare you call our youth jackasses.

    Just guessing but I would venture a guess that you three whiners are from west of the river. Just guessing. If you want to find something to cry about, at least make it something legitimate.

    -- Posted by bosshawg on Mon, Mar 4, 2013, at 1:10 PM
  • EDITOR'S NOTE: If any of you want to have your comments included in our newspaper, as letters to the editor, please email Thank you for your feedback and have a great day!

    -- Posted by kristal_kuykendall on Tue, Mar 5, 2013, at 10:12 AM
  • I agree 100% with bosshawg!!!

    And as for you calling the youth of Berryville should be ashamed of yourself!!!!The audacity you have to call children that!

    -- Posted by bobcatpride on Wed, Mar 6, 2013, at 3:03 PM
  • As one of the "obstinate jackasses", I appreciate bosshawg and bobcatpride for sticking up for the youth of Berryville! As an active member of the FFA (which is not an "idotic organization")and one of the riders, I can assure you the donkeys were in no shape, or form "humiliated or tortured". The donkeys and their owner travels all around the country and do the exact same thing everywhere they go. If they were being cruely treated, someone would have stopped it already.

    I'm sorry you feel as if they were being treated poorly. I feel the people in the above comments could've expressed their feelings in a non-insulting fashion. None of the children that were riding the donkeys are "obstinate jackasses".

    And in case you're curious, every single one of the riders had a 15 minute saftey meeting before the game. The owner made sure no one above the appropriate weight would be riding.

    -- Posted by bobcat11 on Thu, Mar 7, 2013, at 9:45 PM
  • While school spirit is all well and good, and name calling is unfortunate because it makes it difficult then for you to hear and consider the facts, what Rhonda Stock posted should not be ignored. Clearly the young man riding the donkey weighs more than the recommended weight load for that animal. And there are other young people in the photo galleries who weigh even more than that.

    Simply because something has been done for years or, as the last poster said, "If they were being cruelly treated, someone would have stopped it already" does not make it right or validates it as harmless. There are numerous examples of this: human slavery, sex trafficking, slaughter of dolphins in the tuna fishery, forest clear-cutting resulting in erosion-caused landslides, and etc. etc. etc. The list goes on. Some places have made efforts to stop these things, and in some parts of the world, they still go on, to the misery and suffering of people and animals alike.

    I would encourage you students especially to research this about donkeys. Find out the facts. Find out if indeed they suffer from joint problems as a result of this activity. Don't be so quick to defend it simply because you'd hate to give up what you think is a fun and funny activity that has been done for years or someone who is making money off it assures you it is safe.

    You are our leaders of tomorrow. Please search out the truth, whatever it is, and defend that. If it turns out that Rhonda is wrong, then please share the conflicting factual information.

    You have a chance to change things for the better, not just for human beings, but for the animals that share our lives. Please.

    -- Posted by JiminyCricket on Fri, Mar 8, 2013, at 12:13 PM
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