Dairyland Donkey Basketball Tournament this Saturday

VELVA Toni Kuntz has no plans to ride on a donkey in the Dairyland Donkey Basketball Tournament at Velva High School this Saturday.

“I’m just lining things up,” said Kuntz, who hopes the fundraiser will bring in about $1,200 to pay for after prom activities this spring that are hosted by the Velva Community Youth Projects.

Tickets will be $6 in advance or $8 at the door. Tickets are available through the Velva School Office. Call 338-2022 for more information.

The CYP has lined up four teams of people who have agreed to get on the back of a donkey and try to make a basket. There will be a community team, a team of faculty members, a team of high school seniors and a team of high school juniors. The juniors and seniors will square off in the first match, followed by a match between the community team and the faculty team. The winning teams from each of the first two matches will then face off in the championship round.

The donkeys are provided by Dairlyland Donkey Basketball of Wisconsin; the people are home-grown.

“We had a few people that we couldn’t convince,” said Kuntz, but others are all too eager. Some of the fun for the audience will be seeing the people they know trying to ride the donkeys.

No practice is required beforehand and probably wouldn’t make the participants any better at the game.

“They say riding a donkey is nothing like riding a horse,” said Kuntz.

To win the game, teams have to make the most points, as in any basketball game. However, each player has to make a basket while riding on the round back of the donkey. Shots made after falling off will not count.

“It should be very entertaining,” said Kuntz. She said there are some safety requirements for the participants. They must wear helmets.

There are also measures in place to protect the facility from the animals.

The donkeys will also wear special shoes on their feet so they don’t damage they gymnasium floor. Dairyland Donkey Ball also provides insurance. Organizers have also lined up a “sanitation crew” to clean up after the donkeys. “We have elementary boys who are going to go around clearing it up,” said Kuntz. “Little farm boys.”

Kuntz said CYP group members decided the donkey basketball would be fun after seeing another area town hold a similar fundraiser a few years ago. But it took the group awhile to persuade Velva High School administrators to allow hooves on the high school gymnasium floor.

The Wisconsin company requires that the host site be able to hold at least 500 people. The Velva CYP will get 40 percent of the proceeds from the event.

Kuntz said the CYP will use the funds from the event to pay for entertainment at this spring’s after prom party and prizes for the students, such as TVs and fridges.

“Last year we had a hypnotist,” said Kuntz, who said there are special prizes for the seniors who will be graduating this spring.