In 1981 several Low Country donkey and mule owners got together to form the South Carolina Donkey and Mule Association. Their intention was to bring donkey and mule lovers together and show the rest of South Carolina exactly how wonderful these patient, talented and friendly animals are.
The response was amazing. As people joined the club from all over South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina, the officers realized it was time to go public! The president of the club approached the Sumter County Fair and the South Carolina State Fair asking for a chance to exhibit the animals. Both Fairs were enthusiastically helpful and in 1983 allotted time, space and funds for the show.
The overriding question has always been “what do you do with donkeys and mules?” The answer is, of course, “anything you do with a horse.”
The club members went on trail rides, rode in parades (they even rode in President Clinton’s inauguration parade in Washington and rode in the Rose Bowl Parade in California), held demonstrations and had exhibits at community events all over the state. They even took over, and continue to do so, the infield at the Colonial Cup Steeplechase Races in Camden each November, giving wagon rides, donkey and mule rides and answering a million questions from race spectators.
One of the club’s greatest achievements was hosting the 1992 National Donkey and Mule Show during the South Carolina State Fair.
There were animals signed up from 18 states. From Texas, Arkansas and Missouri to California, Michigan,Pennsylvania and Delaware and all points in between, and the donkey judges came all the way from Australia. The bleachers stayed full for three days and spectators lined the arena fence three deep.
The club’s other great achievement has been educating the public about donkeys and mules. At one point in history, mules were the exclusive property of Kings. While donkeys provided transportation and worked tirelessly at many day-to-day chores for hundreds of years on every continent.
But now their role has transformed, they are finding a new popularity in the areas of pleasure , showing and breeding. They have become the new choice for many people here in the southeast. With that in mind, the South Carolina Donkey and Mule Association strives to be the organization that allows the owners of these lovely longears an opportunity to make new friends and share their enthusiasm for these wonderful animals.
We hope you will come join us on some longear fun!!!