Donkeys fill high school gym for charity basketball game

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RAVENNA, Mich. -- One thing's for sure: it was not your typical game of hoops at Ravenna High School Thursday night. Players ran up and down the court on four hooves, playing donkey basketball for more than just for fun.

Thursday's game was a fundraiser for the local food pantry along with the school's 'Future Farmers of America' club, or FFA. Those who helped contribute to the cause definitely got their money's worth as far as good entertainment goes.

It's certainly not a sight you see everyday, and it takes a special type of athlete to be good at donkey basketball.

"The donkeys are not cooperating very well, but I think it's going really well," said Lindsey Ruch, a junior at Ravenna High School.

"I couldn't get on my donkey because he kept on bucking me, so I couldn't get on," said senior Alyssa Slade. "The night is going really well."

About a dozen donkeys hit the hardwood floor for the basketball game.

"There's really no trick, because you can't tell what the donkey is going to do," said Ruch.

The funds raised Thursday night went to the school's FFA and a local food pantry to help stock their shelves before the holiday season.

"We raised over $3,000 for our chapter through events like this, and we are able to donate $1,000 to the food pantry," said FFA advisor Melanie Block. "The kids also give canned goods to ride the donkeys or donate a dollar. We also have a donkey drag queen contest and from that alone we will be able to donate $500 to the food pantry."

While the students, staff and crowd helped out, when it comes to the donkeys there's definitely a reason why they say "stubborn as a mule."

"I think the smaller donkeys are the more vicious ones," said Slade. "They don't want to do what you want."

"It's a lot harder than you think it would be," said Sammi Edwards, senior. "When you want them to move, that's the time they stay still. When you want them to stay still, that's the time they're running everywhere."

"I think that's part of the fun when the donkeys don't cooperate; that makes it more fun for the community watching it," said Block. "It makes it more challenging for the players, but you go into it expecting that."

For those wondering, there's no reason to worry about the donkeys scratching up the basketball floors, as they wore small rubber covers on their hooves.

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