Donkey Basketball in Blooming Prairie
There was laughter filling the Blooming Prairie High School gym on Sunday, Jan. 31, and all for a good cause. Dairyland Donkey Basketball from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, was in as a fundraiser for the Blooming Prairie Education Foundation.
Donkey basketball has two eight-minute periods of 4-on-4 with four teams and one eight-minute championship period.
The first game was Blooming Prairie Fireman winning 8-6 against the Blooming Prairie Ambulance. At intermission, 12 and younger boys and girls line he gym walls for a donkey one-way ride. Girls on one side and boys on the other. Then it was BP Seniors winning their game against the BP Elementary staff with the score 12-8.
The championship game ended as a tie between BP Firemen and the Seniors, so there was a tie-breaker. The captains were uncle and niece, Fire Chief Dean Naatz and Kalyn Naatz. The dance off went to Kalyn, left-handed arm wrestling went to Dean (because Dean had a brace on his right elbow) and the race went to Kalyn. BP Seniors won the 2016 Donkey Basketball title.
Dairyland Donkey Basketball has been owned by C.J. Cordell with his wife for 12 years, but it has been in her family since the Great Depression. They travel in 19 states. Each program is around 1-2 hours. They brought 10 donkeys in all.
According to the website, the donkeys wear rubber-soled shoes so as not to damage any floors.
Also, one rule of donkey basketball was that riders would have to clean up their donkeys' smelly messes. A time-out would be called.
Once in a while if someone was near the basket, play would stop until they made the shot. If one person was alone at one end of the court, they were playing defense. Sometimes the donkeys did not move. The players were told no matter how much you are good with animals, you will look like you aren't.
The players were:
Class of 2016: Lauren Larkoski, Kalyn Naatz, Sam Abbe, Hannah Ahrens, John Hatch, Kevin Eichens, Chris Waseck, Brett Miller, Brody Carlson
BP Firemen: Dean Naatz, Jake Lembke, Dan Miner, Mike Trom, Jeremy Wangen, Josh Toquam, Mike Johnson, Josh Gwilt
BP Ambulance: Paula Abbe, Daniel Peach, Naomi/Russia Smith, Garrett/Nola Wradislavsky, Jacob Peterson, Ashley Schemling
BP Elementary Staff: Rachel Harberts, Emily Allison, Stephanie Emke, Laura Beckel, Kayleena Miller, Denise Hadrath, Ashley Rey, Lauren Nelson