The Pittsburg High School gymnasium was the scene of an epic test of wills Saturday evening.

The Pittsburg High School gymnasium was the scene of an epic test of wills Saturday evening.

For several hours, teams battled on the basketball court to score more points than their opponents. At half time of a game in which players were repeatedly thrown to the court, Team Grain Bin from Chanute and the Pittsburg Police Department’s D.A.R.E. unit were tied 4-4 and grinning as they went to rest.

The score was so low because the players had to make their baskets while sitting on the backs of donkeys. Yes, donkey basketball, and that is pretty much the only rule of the game.

“That’s one of the highest scoring halves I’ve ever seen,” said John Ketterman, Pittsburg City Commissioner and president of the Mirza Temple Uniform Unit, which hosts the fund raiser each year. “And this is the first time it’s been held in Pittsburg, at least for a long time. It’s been in Arma a couple times, and in Galena at least once.”

The donkeys were provided by Circle “A” Donkeys, out of Henry, Tenn., and more than 100 people showed up to watch and participate. Ketterman said the event usually draws more people, but the spring break date was the only available opening Circle “A” Donkeys had.

“It’s been a pretty good event for us in the past,” Ketterman said. “This year wasn’t too bad, either.”

The other team was the Fort Scott Oriental Band. Another team was unable to make the event.

Of course, the goal of playing donkey basketball is to win. But it’s also to have fun, even if you lose.

“We wanted to come help out, and it’s actually fun riding them and pulling them around,” Regina Bogle of Team Grain Bin said, adding that she and her husband, Travis, heard about the event through friends. “They’re very stubborn. And once you get on, you don’t want to get off.”

For the players, simply getting onto their steeds proved to be the biggest challenge of the game.

“You have no control,” said D.A.R.E. team member officer Chris Curry.

His teammate, officer Quentin Turner, agreed.

“It’s tough,” he said. “You don’t want to get kicked.”

Bogle was one of the few players who was able to consistently stay on her mount, as well as one of the few who were able to score. It wasn’t easy, she said, but it was worth it.

“It’s a lot of work, but also a lot of fun,” she said, chuckling. “I’m not going to be able to walk for days.”