— By David Naranjo | Special to the Index
Mineral Wells High School Class of 2014 Project Graduation, along with seniors and faculty members, participated in a game of Buckeye Donkey Ball last Monday evening, February 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the MWHS Gym. This was MWHS’s second year to host the Buckeye Donkeys.
Buckeye Donkey Ball is a family owned company that has been up and running since 1934. The Columbus, Ohio based company currently serves 16 states with Donkey Basketball, Baseball, and Racing.
Two teams, separated by boys and girls, participated in the event. Of the two teams, MWHS Assistant Principal Mary Laigle and Principal Jon Almeida were two of the four faculty members who joined the occasion.
To partake in the fun, participants must have been at least 16 years of age, and were required to sign a waiver, as well as wear helmets while playing to ensure safety. Before, the game a Buckeye representative must go over safety precautions and the rules of the game.
Players were allowed to select their donkey of choice for the game, and were asked not to pull the hair as humane treatment of the donkeys is of foremost consideration to the Buckeye Company. Students and faculty then rode real, live donkeys in a game of basketball.
Katie Pilgrim pulled down the most rebounds for the girls’ team—the Red Team—and Cierra Turk was thrown from her donkey in an attempt to bring the girls to victory, scoring two baskets.
“I think we won at heart because we had the crowd cheering for us the whole time,” MWHS senior participant Tara Cooper said.
The boys’ team won the game with 16 points, beating the girls by four. Christopher Rapp scored the most points for the Blue Team. Chris said he attributes his success in the game to “becoming one with the donkey.”
During the first half of the game, spectators participated in a silent auction in which items like a baseball bat, basketball, volleyball, and Wranglerette show hat—just to name a few—were all auctioned off at half-time, profiting Project Graduation.
The money made from ticket sales and participation costs benefit the Class of 2014 Project Graduation in which organized, adult-supervised and alcohol-free activities are offered as part of a post-graduation party, an alternative to student-run events with alcohol or drugs.
With a crowd consensus that the game was more entertaining than regular basketball, MWHS art teacher and Student Council sponsor Lib Wiley said, “I don’t understand why people would play basketball without donkeys.” Ms. Wiley was one of the four faculty members who participated in the game.
Donkey basketball is one of Project Graduation’s multiple fundraising events, which also include a gun raffle, smoker raffle, golf scramble, and the Crazy Quest Amazing Race—set to take place 9:00 a.m. March 22 at the Famous Mineral Water Company. Go to www.mwhspg.com for more details.