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 broke all previous attendance records and brought spectators from as far away as Germany to take in the weekend’s events. The 28th Annual Clark County Mule Festival drew in over 6,000 people, approximately 200 contestants and around 350 campers on September 20th-22nd, 2013. 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! This year, attendees ranged in age from 6 months old to 88 years old! 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 from various parts of the area.
The Commercial Building and Midway were filled with nearly 100 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?
This year, the Clark County Mule Festival reached out to their Facebook followers starting on Sunday with the search for the Golden Muleshoe. It was hidden somewhere new every day with the promise of a different prize to whoever could find it and turn it in. Winners were: Chad Brotherton of Argyle, IA; Katlyn Simpson of Revere, MO; Geoff Wilson of Ottumwa, IA; Cari Garrett of Floris, IA; Christy Hoksbergen of Bussey, IA; Toby Moss of LaGrange, MO; and one anonymous winner.
Friday afternoon kicked off with some practice for the kids for the weekend’s events such as Monkey in the Tree and the Pantyhose Race in front of the grandstand. There were also games in the sand arena for the younger, mule-less crowd including a trail class with stick mules and a 3-legged race. Friday evening brought Mule Polo to the crowd, followed closely by the cattle classes.
Friday winners were as follows:
The 2013 Mule Polo win went to the “Straw Hats.” Team members were: Colton Weldon Ottumwa, IA; Ronnie Melton Bucklin, MO; Kevin Coltrain Newtown, MO; Troy DeJong Bussey, IA; Michael Bothke Newtown, IA; and Ben McFarland New London, IA.
Team Sorting: 1st – Tony Garrett, Geoff Wilson, Randy Salasbury; 2nd – Rusty Blind, Bill Lipper, Cody Weaver
Steer Doctoring: 1st – Cliff DeJong, Wade Puyear, Troy DeJong; 2nd – DeWayne Casen, Chelsea Wright, Mike Wright; 3rd – Michael Bothke, Kevin Coltrain, Doug Hyle
Breakaway Roping: 1st – Chelsea Wright; 2nd – Cody Weaver
Team Roping: no qualified times
Steer Daubing: 1st – Christy Zylstra; 2nd – Rusty Blind; 3rd – Craig Church
Goat Tail Untying: 1st – Micah Elam; 2nd - Liberty Henderson; 3rd – London Brunk
Goat Tying (17 & Over): 1st – Chelsea Wright; 2nd – Christy Zylstra; 3rd – Heather Hatton
Goat Tying (16 & Under): 1st – Liberty Henderson; 2nd – Micah Elam
Saturday morning started with a trail ride leaving the grounds and heading south with approximately 60 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): 1st - Tony Garrett Floris, IA; 2nd – Richard Strader Marietta, IL; 3rd – Bee Hammer
Youth Bat ‘N Barrel: 1st – Dillon Garrett Floris, IA; 2nd – Nova Cline Memphis, MO; 3rd (tie) – Kendra Watkins Industry, IL and Wayne Carruthers Burlington, IA
Team Bat ‘N Barrel: 1st – Kevin Coltrain; 2nd – Bill Weaver Birmingham, IA; 3rd – Ed Wintermeyer Mt. Pleasant, IA
Adult Bat ‘N Barrel: 1st – Michael Bothke; 2nd – Whitney Thomson Cedar Rapids, IA; 3rd – Bill Lipper Agency, IA
Team Egg & Spoon: 1st – Richard Strader; 2nd – Dirk Metcalf Douds, IA; 3rd – Tony Garrett
Men’s Egg & Spoon: 1st – Colton Weldon; 2nd – Troy DeJong; 3rd – Rob Nelson Luray, MO
Women’s Egg & Spoon: 1st – Christy Zylstra Birmingham, IA’ 2nd – Ashlee Wilson Kirksville, MO
Pantyhose Race: 1st – Mike Wright Basco, IL and DeWayne Casen Drakesville, IA; 2nd – Zach Garrett Floris, IA and Troy DeJong; 3rd – Jacob & Joshua Vestal Livonia, MO
Wheel of Fortune: 1st – Whitney Thomson; 2nd – Michael Bothke; 3rd – Erika Torman Trivoli, IL
Adult Dotty Parton Race: 1st – Whitney Thomson; 2nd – Johnny Maher Mt. Vernon, IA; 3rd – Michael Bothke
Back to Back: 1st – Josh Vestal & Chase Stanbuck Kirksville, MO; 2nd – Glenna Schantz Luray, MO & Anna Hartzler Wayland, IA
Team Pull (big mules): 1st – Geoff Wilson
Team Pull: 1st – Bill Orton Memphis, MO; 2nd (tie) – Tod DeJong Unionville, IA and Jacob March Luray, MO
Mule Jump (55” & Under): 1st – Chris Coltrain Newtown, MO; 2nd – Richard Long Drakesville, IA
Mule Jump 56” & Over): 1st – Amy Waddle Kirksville, MO; 2nd – Kevin Coltrain; 3rd – Emma Nelson Luray, MO
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 Wiemann, 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. The 2013 Clark County Mule Festival King, Colton Weldon, and Queen, Christy Zylstra, were crowned and presented during the rodeo, also.
Mule Festival Rodeo winners were:
Bulls: 1st – Kody McAfee Kahoka, MO
Steers: 1st – Micah Elam Douds, IA; 2nd – Kolby Cheney Huntsville, MO
Chute Doggin’: 1st – Ricky Riddle Montrose, IA; 2nd – Troy DeJong; 3rd – Patrick Davis Huntsville, MO
Saddle Bronc Mule: 1st – Ronnie Melton; 2nd – Johnny Maher; 3rd – Colton Weldon
Ladies Barrels: 1st – Chelsea Wright Basco, IL; 2nd – Tara Lipper Agency, IA; 3rd – Ashlee Wilson
Girls Barrels: 1st – Kalissa Watkins Industry, IL; 2nd – Anna Hartzler; 3rd – Nova Cline
Wild Cow Catch: Elizabeth McFarland New London, IA and Troy DeJong
Sunday morning, the trail ride headed out with about 20 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: Torman Family, Church Family, Blind/Zylstra Family; Wintermeyer Family
Halter Class: 1st – Rusty Blind Birmingham, IA; 2nd – Nova Cline: 3rd – Michael Henderson West Point, IA
Youth Musical Carpet: 1st – Angela Riddle Hamilton, IL; 2nd – Erin Bash; 3rd – Abbie Morris Newtown, IA
Adult Musical Carpet: 1st – Colton Weldon; 2nd – Melissa Watkins Industry, IL; 3rd – Rob Nelson
Team Musical Carpet: 1st – Larry Orton; 2nd – Ed Wintermeyer: 3rd – Bill Orton
Youth Bat ‘N Barrel: 1st – Kendra Watkins; 2nd – Angela Riddle; 3rd – Cyrus Folker Farmington, IA
Adult Bat ‘N Barrel: 1st – Montana Strader Colchester, IL; 2nd – Melissa Watkins; 3rd – Tyler Torman Trivoli, IL
Monkey in the Tree: 1st – Jason Loeffler Brighton, IA & Christy Zylstra; 2nd – Ariel Rose Keokuk, IA & Angela Riddle; 3rd – Montana Strader & Tyler Torman
Youth Key Hole: 1st – Cheryl Borton Birmingham, IA; 2nd – Nova Cline; 3rd – Micah Elam
Adult Key Hole: 1st – Mike Wright; 2nd – Christy Zylstra; 3rd – Craig Church Revere, MO
Back to Back: 1st – Angela Riddle & Ariel Rose; 2nd – Montana Strader & Kalissa Watkins; 3rd – Melissa & Kendra Watkins
Mule Jump: 1st – Ryan Coltrain Newtown, MO; 2nd – Garrett Wintermeyer Ladora, IA
The winner of the picture raffle was Georgie Roberts of Wayland, MO. The quilt raffle was won by Rodney Rainbolt of Quincy, IL. The 2013 Clark County Mule Festival saddle was raffled off to Gary Riddle of Keokuk, IA. Congratulations to all of 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 would also like to thank our community for supporting our endeavors through the years. We hope to see you next year at the 29th Annual Clark County Mule Festival on September 19th-21st, 2014!