Submitted by Marlene Quiring
Tees Longears Days, held annually at Tees Rodeo Grounds, celebrates its 20th anniversary Aug. 15 and 16.
This third weekend in August has long been a haven for mule and donkey fanciers and a source of entertainment, education and enjoyment to the public. Sparked in the 1980s by the inclusion of donkey and mule halter classes at the Tees horse show, the Tees Agricultural Society embraced the idea of including more donkey and mule classes, which led to the first inclusive Tees Longears Days Show. The show was managed by Mary Henderson of Tees and then Allison Magee of Clive. Since 1996, the show has been run by volunteers from the Alberta Donkey and Mule Club. Much progress has been made in the last 20 years for the betterment of the ”longears.”
Once thought of by most folks as dumb, cantankerous and quick to kick, the mule has excelled in many events that are commonly dominated by horses as demonstrated by their big win at the 2008 Spruce Meadows Telus Battle of the Breeds where they competed again 13 other horse breeds, toppling the Appaloosas from their dominating run over the last several years. The events included trail, compulsory skills, precision driving, barrel racing and jumping. The mules won the compulsory skills competition and placed well in the others to come out on top and win the coveted title of champions of the competition. This has proven to the public, that mules are capable of doing anything a horse can do, and sometimes even better.
This year, the Tees Longears Days committee marks the milestone of the show by honoring a special mule that has been a participant at the show for every one of the 20 years. Moses is a sweet bay john (male) mule owned by Reg and Hazel Rust of Ponoka and has been ridden or driven in the show by all three generations of Rusts. Being that mules live longer than horses, this does not mean retirement for Moses as he will be in the company of more mules in their late 20s and even 30s. The mule is a hybrid and thus takes on the best qualities of both parents; the speed and beauty of the horse and the smarts and long life of the donkey. Riding and driving donkeys will also be at the show and these cautious, lovable equines often prove to be a really safe alternative for people that are fearful of horses.
The Alberta Donkey and Mule Club and the Tees Longears Days organizers invite everyone to join them for two fun-filled days of family events. Admission, parking and camping are free. There will be a concession and vendors on site and an open tack swap on Saturday. The Show starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, with the grand entry around noon. Tickets for the catered supper need to be ordered in advance by calling Ethel at 403-783-3083. The rest of Saturday evening includes the silent and fun auction, campfire, music and entertainment. Everything is open to the public. Sunday morning kicks off with Cowboy Church at 9 a.m. and then continues with the rest of the show.
For a complete program list and show entry form please visit www.albertadonkeyandmule.com and click Tees Longears Days.