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Morning Sun
  • Mirza Shrine hosts donkey basketball

  • Adam Redd, a member of team Bumpkin Boys, is new to the game of donkey basketball.

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  • Adam Redd, a member of team Bumpkin Boys, is new to the game of donkey basketball.
    “It’s nothing I ever expected. I’ve played basketball my whole life,” Redd said. “But the donkeys don’t like to move very well. They wouldn’t move at all. I was yanking it across the court.”
    Redd wasn’t the only one. In fact, the game of donkey basketball played on Friday night at Pittsburg High School likely won’t set any records for scoring — only 11 points were scored in four games combined.
    But what donkey basketball lacks in subtlety and scoring was more than made up by the entertainment and atmosphere created by the group sponsoring the event. Donkey basketball is hosted as a fundraiser for the Mirza Shrine Uniformed Units.
    “It’s just fun, it gets all the families out. It’s good entertainment for all the kids. The clowns can make the balloons for the families, and there’s a lot of entertainment everyone gets out of the animals,” said Jason Newkirk, 2013 Uniformed Units President.
    There was plenty of entertainment, for both the participants and those in the stands. Clowns made hats, animals and more out of balloons for kids. Adults got the excitement of an auction, giveaways and a raffle.
    Everyone got the thrill of watching the trials and tribulations of the donkey basketball competitors.
    “It’s the people that ride them,” said Stan Jahay, past potentate of Mirza Shrine. “Just to watch those guys attempt to ride the donkeys. They’re dragging them. They are scared of them, and there ain’t nothing to be afraid of. It’s better for the crowd when they’re on them, because they get bucked off.”
    And that was the reason the scoring was so low. The rules of donkey basketball stipulate that in order to shoot, a person must be riding their donkey rather than pulling it.
    Car Ramrod ended up being not only the top scoring team, but the overall winner of the six-team contest. It took an overtime period to decide a tournament winner between them and Team Sugar Creek, but Car Ramrod sunk a three-pointer to win the contest.
    “That was a blast. The last time I saw this was 30 years ago, so this was great,” said Team Sugar Creek’s Travis Akin.
    The donkeys will eventually head back to their home in Henry, Tenn., take off their rubber shoes (to protect the court, of course), and forget about their days of teams like Ba-donkey-donk and the Bumpkin Boys.
    But Jason Newkirk won’t soon forget the help he got for donkey basketball.
    “We couldn’t have done this without the help of volunteers and the Nobles and the Ladies in putting this on,” Newkirk said. “Volunteers like you wouldn’t believe selling tickets, gathering teams and gathering raffle items.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.
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