The nation’s best-known celebration of the mule is taking place right now: Bishop Mule Days! HN’s Maria Wachter shares the details and will be in attendance this weekend.
Still don’t have Memorial Day weekend plans? Head over to Bishop, California to see the biggest mule celebration on earth!
For nearly 50 years, Bishop, CA has hosted Mule Days at the local fairgrounds. Mules and donkeys from all over the country come and compete to show what the long-eared equine is capable of. There are events to tickle everyone’s fancy: reining, jumping, trail classes, speed events, western pleasure, English, etc. It’s pretty impressive to watch a mule spin a hole in the ground in a way that would make any reining horse turn it’s head. They have team roping, coon jumping, racing, chariot barrel racing, and a lot of other fun events that only Mule Days could think up.
There’s also a lot of fun classes that will make you laugh out loud and realize why mule owners all have a sense of humor. Everyone’s favorite is the packer’s scramble. It’s where about 10 different teams take their lead mule or horse and three pack mules, take all their gear off them, turn them loose into an arena and get all mixed up with the other equines. Then the teams have to catch their whole string, saddle them up and run them around the track. Whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner. You might think your horse or mule loves you, until he’s turned out with another 100 ani-mules running around in chaos, and then see how much he wants to run up to you.
There are events all week long, along with fun stuff to do around the fairgrounds, good food to eat, vendors’ booths selling tons of long-eared paraphernalia, and the whole town in a buzz with what’s going on.
On the Saturday before Memorial Day, Bishop hosts the world’s largest non-motorized parade full of every equine you can find. It’s a hoot seeing all those ears flopping down the street in unison.
In the down time between shows and the nightly rodeo, you can take a drive and explore all the neighboring towns close by. Some of the prettiest lakes I’ve ever seen are just a 40 minute drive from Bishop. June Lake and Mammoth Lake are close by and will make you think you’ve been transported to the Swiss Alps (minus all the good chocolate).
I’ll be there this weekend, rooting my friend on and watching all the activities. If you’ll be there, shout out in the comments section! I’d love to meet our Horse Nation readers face to face!