April 01, 2023

The donkeys are coming

The donkeys are coming, the donkeys are coming!

Greenfield Lions Club is pleased to invite the community to Donkey Ball, scheduled for Friday, March 31 at Nodaway Valley High School. Officials say the event will be fun for the entire family.

Donkey Ball, which pits local people against each other in a basketball game played on the backs of donkeys, is an event the Lions Club has brought to town before. Their goal is to hold a game every five years.

From a dairy farm in East Texas, CJ Cordell was working on a dairy science degree when he met his wife, Jessica, who is from Wisconsin and whose family had a strong history in donkey ball.

The Cordells started Dairyland Donkey Ball, LLC in 2004.

CJ Cordell said he thinks the best part of donkey ball is watching local communities get enjoyment from seeing those they know well try to play a basketball game on the back of a donkey. Rules are simplified from basketball. There isn’t a requirement to dribble, there isn’t any out of bounds, and the clock runs continuously. Other than that, passing, shooting and blocking are all in play.

“We have a couple of donkeys that don’t like to move, we have some that are easy to ride and then there’s the paradigm of the crazy bucking donkey. That definitely makes things interesting for whoever gets on that one,” Cordell said. “We’re just thrilled to be back in the full swing of things. We have big crowds coming out to shows. To see smiling faces and people pointing fingers and laughing at the people on the donkeys. We want people to get their tickets and get the place sold out.”

Jeff LaBarge, treasurer for the Greenfield Lions Club, said that those who come to the event will have ample opportunity to support their community.

Sunshine Day Care will run a soup supper starting at 5 p.m. and also offer concessions later in the evening. Family games and activities by the Nodaway Valley FFA chapter will start at 5:30 in the south part of the high school. There will be a coloring contest at 6 p.m. with a cowgirl and cowboy costume contest at 6:30 p.m. Two games of donkey ball will be played in the gym with the first one beginning at 7:30 p.m.

A portion of proceeds from donkey ball will go back into the community. The Greenfield Lions Club recently helped purchase a scoreboard for the Nodaway Valley Elementary School gymnasium and a sound system for the fairgrounds. They also give to many other organizations around the community, many that benefit kids.

LaBarge said that donkey riders and other volunteers are still needed. Those who are willing to help may email greenfieldlionsclub@gmail.com or contact a Lions Club member to express interest.

“Come out and laugh,” LaBarge said.

Tickets for Donkey Ball are available at FNB’s Fontanelle or Greenfield locations, Union State Bank in Greenfield and Greenfield Lumber. Advance tickets come with a coupon for 10% off an order of $25 or more at Olive Branch or Tiger Drive-In.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.