The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

August 26, 2013

Dispelling the popular myths

BLOOMFIELD — Mules and donkeys are known for the stereotype of being stubborn, dumb and unattractive. The members of the Iowa Donkey and Mule Society would beg to differ.

On Saturday and Sunday, the best of the best were shown, judged and awarded. The Iowa Donkey and Mule show is the high point of every competition in the Midwest. Winning here is a big deal.

The 32nd Annual State Show and Futurity had 73 show classes ranging from Barrels and Hurdles to Donkey Western Pleasure. The donkeys and mules are prized animals. Many have trainers and special care is taken to make them look their best.

Members of the Iowa Donkey and Mule Society are polite and welcoming. They are also happy to educate you concerning the prevailing myths of their beloved animals.

The mule is a hybrid cross between a male donkey and a female horse, and this cross exhibits the best traits from each parent. The mule inherits from the donkey strength, intelligence and patience and his equine beauty, speed and athletic ability from the horse.

Donkeys are in fact a highly intelligent animal despite popular misconception. They can live for more than 50 years, and they have an astonishing memory. Although they can be stubborn, it's more of a self-preservation tactic than an attitude.

The Iowa Donkey and Mule Society is like a big family, and they share in the same things any family goes through. Last year's show was dedicated in memory to Bird and Sheila Ellison of Moravia, who died tragically in a house fire in March 2012. The Ellisons were avid members and well liked by all. This weekend banners were on display with pictures of the Ellisons doing what they loved best — showing their prized mules with good friends.

Terry Bates was there with his wife, Glynda, from Rock Point Farm in Bloomfield, Mo., and two of his prize-winning donkeys. Bates won Grand Champion on Saturday with his Jenny named Dolly. He's won every year he's competed in except for two.

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