27th Annual Clark County Mule Festival Draws Record Crowd
The third full weekend of September every year draws a crowd of families, friends, and spectators in to the Clark County Fairgrounds in Kahoka, MO. Folks travel from all over the United States and overseas to share their love for Missouri’s state animal – the mule. This year’s Clark County Mule Festival drew a record crowd and brought spectators from as far away as Australia and Bethlehem to take in the weekend’s events. The 27th Annual Clark County Mule Festival drew in over 5,000 people, approximately 200 contestants and around 340 campers on September 14th-16th, 2012. With something for everyone to enjoy, be it crafts and flea market finds, great food, trail rides, a mule rodeo and events, or simply visiting with friends, the Mule Festival is something you don’t want to miss! While official activities don't begin until Friday, many people bring their campers in early to enjoy camping out several nights during the week leading up to the festival. There were also several wagon trains and riders who rolled in through the week.
The Commercial Building and Midway were filled with vendors who sold many crafts and handmade items, including jewelry, quilts, paintings, horseshoe art, and tack. Also on hand for purchase were clothing, trailers, and equine care items. Who could forget to mention the delicious foods with burgers, fried fish, funnel cakes, smoothies, tacos, honey, baked goods, and many other foods available, as well?
Friday afternoon kicked off with some kid’s games in the sand arena including musical carpets with stick mules. While this is still something relatively new, it is gaining more popularity with each passing year! Friday evening was the ever-popular Mule Polo followed by the cattle classes. The 2012 Mule Polo Championship game fell to the “Straw Hats.” Team members were Dave Kaemmerer Warden, IL; Kevin Coltrain, Newtown, MO; Johnny Maher, Mt. Vernon, IA; Cody Weaver, Birmingham, IA; and Tim Kraber, Ottumwa, IA.
Team Sorting: 1st- Dewayne Cason, Drakesville, IA, Mike Wright, Basco, IL, and Joe Blepole; 2nd – Chelsea Wright, Basco, IL, Mike Wright, Dewayne Cason; 3rd – Rusty Blind, Christy Zylstra, Cody Weaver, all of Birmingham, IA
Steer Doctoring: 1st – Doug Hyle, Unionville, MO, Josh Vestal, Livonia, MO, Jacob Vestal, Livonia, MO; 2nd – Chris and Kevin Coltrain, Trevor Snyder, Newtown, MO; 3rd – Mike Wright, Chelsea Wright, KC Chockley
Adult Goat Tying: 1st – Chelsea Wright; 2nd - KC Chockley; 3rd - Christy Zylstra
Youth Goat Tying: 1st – Erika Torman
Goat Tail Ribbon Untying: 1st – Garrett Wintermeyer, Ladora, IA, 2nd – Brendon Conrett; 3rd – Wayne Carruthers, West Burlington, IA
Breakaway Roping: 1st – KC Chockley
Team Roping: 1st – KC Chockley and Mike Wright
Steer Daubing: 1st – Christy Zylstra; 2nd – Chelsea Wright; 3rd – Rusty Blind
Saturday morning started with a trail ride leaving the grounds and heading south with approximately 52 riders. The mule show started at 10 am with the Clark County R-1 Marching Band performing one of their marching songs. The Grand Entry followed with many mules, several teams, a presentation of flags and the National Anthem performed by the band.
Saturday winners were as follows:
Teams (crowd favorite): Jeff Wilson and Family, Ottumwa, IA
Teams Musical Carpet: 1st-Pat Coulter, Donnellson, IA; 2nd – Larry Zylstra, Farmington, IA; 3rd – Jeff Wilson
Adult Musical Carpet: 1st – Christy Zylstra, Birmingham, IA; 2nd – Justin Mercer, Fairfield, IA; 3rd – Colton Weldon, Ottumwa, IA
60 & Over Musical Carpet: 1st – Jim Robertson, Wyaconda, MO; 2nd – Janet Strader, Marietta, IL
Youth Musical Carpet: 1st – Dillon Garrett, Floris, IA; 2nd – Aleaha Sytsma, Ottumwa, IA; 3rd – Justin Smith, Unionville, MO
Youth Bat in Barrel: 1st – Kendra Watkins, Industry, IL; 2nd – Wayne Carruthers, West Burlington, IA; 3rd – Ariel Rose, Keokuk, IA
Adult Bat in Barrel: 1st – Randy Salasberry, Newton, IA; 2nd – Cody Weaver; 3rd – Austin Vanhoutan, Unionville, MO
Celebrity Match-Up Bat in Barrel: 1st – Suzy Q from KOKX Radio; 2nd – Kathy Williams from Clark County Mule Festival Committee
Team Barrel Race: 1st – Richard Strader, Marietta, IL; 2nd – Dewayne Cason, Drakesville, IA; 3rd – Jeff Wilson
Youth Barrel Rave: 1st – Kendra Watkins; 2nd – Erika Torman, Trivoli, IL; 3rd – Tyler Torman, Trivoli, IL
Pantyhose Race: 1st – Christy Zylstra and Rusty Blind, Birmingham, IA; 2nd – Michelle Johnson and Tyler Torman, Trivoli, IL; 3rd – Cody Weaver and Dillon Garrett
Egg and Spoon: Ladies – Melissa Watkins, Industry, IL; Men – Jim Robertson; Youth – Erika Torman; Team – Chad Brotherton, Argyle, IA
Adult Dotty Parton Race: 1st – Christy Zylstra; 2nd – Whitney Thompson, Milan, MO; 3rd – Rob Nelson, Luray, MO
Youth Dotty Parton Race: 1st – Nova Cline, Memphis, MO; 2nd – Aleaha Sytsma; 3rd – Ethan Nelson, Luray, MO
Mule Jump 56” & Over: 1st – Mike Call, Henley, MO 66”; 2nd – Kevin Coltrain 62”; 3rd – Rob Nelson 56”
Mule Jump 55” & Under: 1st – Richard Long, Drakesville, IA; 2nd – Chris Coltrain, Newtown, MO; 3rd – Whitney Thompson
Saturday night's rodeo brought in a very large crowd, as usual. The night began with the presentation of flags by Becki Krueger, Kahoka, MO, carrying the American flag; Bethany Davis, Kahoka, MO, the Missouri flag; Christy Hoksbergen, Bussey, IA, the Mule Festival flag; Janet Strader, Marietta, IL, the Illinois flag; and Pat Coulter, Donnellson, IA, the Iowa flag. Kari Fedderson, Wayland, IA, sang the National Anthem. The VFW Post 4342 Ladies Auxiliary of Kahoka did a commemorative balloon release for the MIA's, POW's, and active persons serving our nation. Announcing the action this year was RW Smith from Adel, IA, with clown Seth Rice from Fort Scott, KS keeping the crowd entertained, as well.
Mule Festival Rodeo winners were:
Bull Riding: 1st – Kasey Beals, Ottumwa, IA; 2nd – Cody Hartley; 3rd – Kody McAfee
Steers (15 & Under): 1st – Ethan Overhulser
Chute Dogging: 1st – Troy DeJong; 2nd – John Long; 3rd – Joshua Winkler
Saddle Bronc Mule: 1st – Nick McCuiston, Mobeetie, TX; 2nd – Colton Weldon, Ottumwa, IA
Ladies Barrels: 1st – Ashlee Wilson, Kirksville, MO; 2nd – Chelsea Wright, Basco, IL; 3rd – Christy Zylstra, Birmingham, IA
Girls Barrels: 1st – Anna Hartzler, Wayland, IA; 2nd – Kendra Watkins, Industry, IL; 3rd – Angela Riddle, Hamilton, IL
Wild Cow Catch: Jason Loeffler Brighton, IA and Rusty Blind Birmingham, IA
Sunday morning, the trail ride headed out with 26 riders at 6:45 am. Church services were held in the grandstands with Tom Rowland officiating. The Grand Entry began at 10:30 am with a presentation of the flags and the National Anthem.
Sunday winners were as follows:
Costume Contest: Ed Wintermeyer and grandkids dressed as an Indian Tribe
Confirmation Class (Yearlings): 1st – Loretta Johnson, Maywood, MO; 2nd – Katie Baughman, Arbela, MO
Confirmation Class (Aged Mules): 1st – Mike Wright; 2nd – Kalissa Watkins, Industry, IL; 3rd – Doug Hoksbergen, Bussey, IA
“Halter” Class: 1st – Kalissa Watkins; 2nd – Nova Cline, Memphis, MO; 3rd – Whitney Thompson
Teams (Crowd Favorite): Jeff Wilson Family
Team Barrel Race: 1st – Josh Gosnell, Montrose, IA; 2nd – Bill Weaver, Birmingham, IA; 3rd – Jeff Wilson
Team Musical Carpet: 1st – Jeff Wilson; 2nd – Ed Wintermeyer, Mt. Pleasant, IA; 3rd – Bill Weaver
Adult Musical Carpet: 1st – Jim Robertson; 2nd – Colton Weldon; 3rd – Rob Nelson
Youth Musical Carpet: 1st – Erika Torman; 2nd – Tyler Torman; 3rd – Anna Hartzler
Team Pulls: 1st – Jeff Wilson (full pull); 2nd – Tony Garrett (57”) 3rd – Tod DeJong (47.5”)
Team Monkey in the Wagon: 1st – Dewayne Cason; 2nd – Tony Garrett; 3rd – Tod DeJong
Monkey in the Tree: 1st – Christy Zylstra & Cody Weaver; 2nd – Colton Weldon and Tim Kraber; 3rd (tie) – Melissa & Kendra Watkins and Michelle & Greg Johnson
Back to Back: 1st – Angela Riddle & Skyler Johnson, Keokuk, IA; 2nd – Ethan & Rob Nelson; 3rd – Tyler & Erika Torman
Arena Race: 1st – Colton Weldon; 2nd (tie) KC Chockley & Michelle Johnson
2012 Clark County Mule Festival Royalty – King: Jim Robertson; Queen: Melissa Watkins; Princess: Erika Torman
The winner of the Silent Auction was Linda Chockley (also known as Myrtle Mae) from Plymouth, IL. Quilt raffle winner was Robbie Keeper of Elmwood, IL. Mary Alice Lee-Hudson from Centerville won the saddle raffle and Corey Link from Oquawka, IL won the raffle mule. Congratulations to all the event and raffle winners!
It takes many volunteers and the help of other organizations to help the Clark County Mule Festival run smoothly every year. The Clark County R-1 FFA helped with parking and shuttles, while buttons were sold by a Relay for Life group and the Clark County Middle School Boosters provided the trash pickup. A big thank you from the Clark County Mule Festival Committee goes out to all the volunteers and help who make this a great annual event, as well as the many contestants, spectators, and vendors who turn out to participate. We hope to see you next year at the 28th Annual Clark County Mule Festival on September 20-22, 2013!