Donkey Basketball


Triton Future Farmers of America held a Donkey Basketball Tournament on March 4th at 7 pm in the Triton gym. The donkeys put on their athletic shoes (really!) and hit the court. Jockeying the donkeys were student and alumni FFA members, Triton teachers and staff, and Dodge Center area Firefighters and EMS volunteers. Two games were held, and then a Championship game, which was won by the Triton School Staff! It was hilarious fun for the family, and very well attended.

FFA stands for Future Farmers of America, and was started in 1928. The goal of FFA is to teach agricultural skills and promote leadership among our young people. Their motto is Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live and Living to Earn.

I asked a 7th grade member, Nolan Hodgman, about his experience in FFA. "A nice clean community is important to us as a group", says Hodgman. "We do fundraisers and have monthly meetings. Once we bought food from Sunshine Foods and gave it to the Food Shelf. I do animal identification as my project. I think it is really fun. I plan to be a member all through High School."

FFA membership encourages students not only to learn about livestock and farming, but also how to be a productive member of a community. It teaches values as well as instruction in living a good life by being a valuable member of society. They offer scholarships to their students, too.

And about these donkeys! This company, Dairyland Donkey Ball, started in 1934 in Wisconsin by a family who loves donkeys. The donkeys are trained to be funny, kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters! They are well cared for, and follow strict rules for the animals which are adhered to at home and on the road. You can learn more about this company and their ethics at

There were 28 local sponsors for this event. The gym was full, and the crowd couldn't quit laughing. The school nurse literally rode the crap out of one donkey, and the game had to be interrupted for the clean up crew, which was also pretty funny. Many riders had a hard time staying on their donkeys, and Jake Hesse took a graceful tumble over the head of his steed, actually more than once! But he wasn't the only one!! Getting on a moving donkey without a saddle isn't as easy as you might think. Staying on a bucking donkey is impossible!

The rules for the game are, you may get off your donkey to get the basketball, but you may not throw the ball to your teammates or into the basket unless you are seated on your donkey. Imagine trying to get on your ride with a basketball in your hands. And while racing down the court to make that basket, sometimes the donkeys have a different idea. Did you know you can't make a donkey do anything it doesn't want to do? And just so you know, dragging a donkey with rubber shoes on across a gymnasium floor truly is also impossible!

I'm sure attendees will be talking about this unique event for a long time, and I for one can't wait to see another game!