Fun on the court

MILROY?- The Milroy School gym has seen a lot of basketball games in its time, but seldom has it had to sweep up behind the players with brooms and pooper-scoopers.

On Saturday night, Milroy took on Vesta and Tracy in two rounds of donkey basketball. The Milroy firefighters took on the Vesta Fire Department, and Milroy teachers played Tracy teachers.

“We’re going to win, we’re going to beat Vesta,” said Milroy fireman Jeff Knott.

Knott was in one of the four-man teams fielded by Milroy in the game organized to raise money for school supplies.

Knott did admit he’s not an experienced rider.

“I don’t like horses,” Knott said. “I’ve only ridden five times, and I got bucked off. I don’t know how this is going to work out.”

However, Ryan Botteberghe on the Vesta team hadn’t any more experience.

“I’ve ridden a cow though,” Botteberghe said.

The game was organized by Beverly Welu, who serves on the Milroy School Board’s outreach committee.

“Donkey basketball is to raise money for technical education and what teachers need in the classroom,” Welu said. “We had it about three years ago. We sold out and raised $3,000, and we’re already there right now.”

The matches were refereed by John Wendlandt, an employee of Dairyland Donkeyball headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wis. Wendlandt oversaw the mostly chaotic press of men and donkeys out of which a ball sometimes emerged.

“You basically fell off a donkey that was doing nothing,” Wendlandt announced. “Sir, you have to be on your donkey to pass the ball! Well that’s because he doesn’t like you, I can’t help that.”

In between rounds, the donkeys were made available for kids to ride.

Nancy Moua from Vesta had her niece Josie Wiese take a donkey ride across the court.

“It’s fun!” Moua said. “I’m playing for the Tracy team. My sister is a Tracy teacher, and she had us sign up.”

Moua said this was the first time she’d ever heard of donkey basketball.

According to Wendlandt, Dairyland Donkeyball’s main season is from January through May. It has two routes on the road and does 80 to 90 shows in a four-month period.

“This is my third season,” Wendlandt said. “It definitely does not get old. It’s always something new and something fun.”

The Vesta Fire Department defeated the Milroy firefighters. The Milroy teachers and Tracy teachers ended in a tie, Welu said, and an arm wrestling match between the two teams took place. The Milroy teachers won the arm wrestling and faced the Vesta Fire Department in the finals. The Vesta firefighters won the game.