Team Penning and Roping- These two events are also on Friday night and start around 7 p.m. In the team penning, a team of 3 individuals are asked to sort out 3 specific steers and pen them in an enclosure at the other end of the arena. All three steers must be in the pen within 3 minutes. If any of the other steers come back across the halfway-mark of the arena, they must be herded back away from the three that are sorted out in the pen. The best time (with the correct 3 steers penned) wins. Roping is just like what you see at rodeos, only with mules. Some of these guys are really good, too! One man or woman ropes the horns of the steer and the other partner ropes the hind legs. Once again...the best time wins, as long as the "header" and "heeler" both catch what they are supposed to.
Coon Hunter's Race- Parked at the far end of the arena are a truck and trailer. Contestants ride down, dismount, and load their mule into the trailer. The contestant then runs around the truck and trailer to come back and unload their mule. They then remount and race to the finish line. Oh yeah...don't forget to latch the gate when you load and unload. You could lose your mule while running around the truck or lose your great time for not latching the gate when you unload.
Grand Entry/ Mule Parade- At 10:00 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, the grand entry starts the days events in front of the grandstand. All participants with mules are encouraged to participate. The American flag leads the way, followed by the Missouri and Clark County Mule Festival flags. Participants are lead in and the audience is asked to stand as the National Anthem is played.
Monkey-in-a-Tree- This race involves two contestants on one mule. They race to the other end of the arena where a rope hanging from a forklift awaits. The "monkey" grabs hold of the rope and must hang there without touching the ground while the other contestant rides around some barrels. Some of the mules aren't real sure about getting close to "that thing" swinging on a rope about eye-level. Once the "monkey" is behind their partner on the mule, they race to the finish line for the best time.
Back-to-Back- This contest involves 2 participants on 1 mule minus a saddle. Catch that? The 2 participants sit back-to-back, hence the name. One rider faces forward and one backwards. As the event proceeds, the riders are asked to switch positions, moving the rider in front, to the back and now facing backwards, and the rider in back moving to the front and now facing forwards. Here's the catch...neither rider can touch the ground in any way, shape, or form. As riders are disqualified, things are made harder. Now, when asked to switch positions, the mule must stay in motion. Then, an egg and spoon is added...and must stay in one rider's mouth as they switch positions, being careful not to lose the egg. This contest is definitely a test of agility, balance, and trust of the mule.
Dumb Waiter- Once again, this contest involves 2 riders on 1 mule, one facing forwards and one facing backwards. This time, they are allowed to use a saddle. At the far end of the arena sits a bucket of water on a barrel. The rider in the back is given a cup. The 2 riders race to the other end, fill the cup with water, race back, and dump their water into the empty bucket at the starting/finish line. Their must be a "measurable" amount of water poured into the empty bucket. Winner is determined by the fastest time.
Pantyhose Race- Two participants are needed, each on their own mule. Each takes a leg of the pantyhose and runs to the other end of the arena and around the barrel. The team with the fastest time-and their pantyhose still intact- wins.
Arena Race- The arena race has come to mark the end of the Mule Festival every year. Contestants line up at one end of the arena. They must make 3 laps around the arena as fast as possible. Whoever reaches the finish line first, wins.
Musical Carpet- If you have ever played musical chairs, this works the same. The only difference is- tires instead of chairs. Tires are placed around the arena in a circle. Contestants ride around the outside of the tires while the music plays. Some of the tires are removed at this time. When the music stops, the race is on. Each contestant tries to get to a tire and stand on it. Those left without a tire are out and the game continues until there is only one person left on a tire.
Tack on a Trailer- For those of you who have lots of tack and not a lot of time, this is a game very similar to life. All participants are let into the arena with their mules. Then, all the tack is taken off the mules and put on a trailer, which is at the opposite end of the arena from the participants. Now that the mules are running loose in the arena...the contestants are allowed to make a mad dash to catch their mule, find their tack (or someone else's), saddle up, and be the first to ride back across the finish line. Does this sound like utter chaos? That makes it all the more fun! Will they get the saddle on the correct way? Will they find the correct tack? Or for that matter, will they find the correct mule?!
Dotty Parton Race- For those of you who are familiar with country music and Dolly Pardon, you know she is a...ummm....very well-endowed woman. To control her assets, she needs a very large piece of equipment. This race has one lane for women and one lane for men. The men are given a very large bra at the start line. They then proceed to the far end and put the bra on. A bucket of water balloons awaits them. They must then place a water balloon in each side, remount their mule, and race to the finish line. Sounds easy? Most of these mules don't run at a very smooth pace. This leads to the problem. When the water balloons get to bouncing, they get to breaking! Will they break in the bra, on the saddle, or elsewhere? Women who wish to participate in this event must use the other lane. Putting a bra on is an everyday occurrence and much easier for a woman. Therefore, women are given a protective cup to put on when they reach the end of the arena. Yes, they must put water balloons inside of them, too.
Pick-up Race- This works like the Pony Express. One rider is at each end of the arena. One is on a mule and one is on the ground. The first rider rides the mule to the other end and dismounts, where the awaiting rider mounts the mule and rushes to the other end of the arena. The best time wins.
Mule Jumps- Mules are renowned for their ability to jump. This contest showcases that ability. Mules are divided up into two categories based on their height. Each mule takes their turn at the jump. After each mule has tried to jump a certain height, the bar is moved up until their is only one mule in each category left to declare as the winner.
Costume Contest- Halloween is such a fun time and mules have such character. Why not combine the two during the Clark County Mule Festival? Contestants dress themselves and their mule(s) up and compete for the trophy. How is the winner decided? The audience helps the judges decide who the winner is by applauding and cheering for their favorite costume. Need some ideas? Contestants have come in dressed as the Beverly Hillbilly's, clowns, and many more. Use your imagination and create limitless possibilities to please the crowd.
Halter Class- If this class were taken literally (and it has been), the halters would be judged. However, this has become a more serious class. Mules are brought in by their handlers wearing only a halter and lead rope. The judges look at the mules and decide which mule has the best conformation. Conformation is how well a mule is "put together," or made.