by Marlene Quiring
Our holiday this year was a trip to Tennessee. Friends of ours, Ted and Barbara Melton, had invited us to come visit them and take in the Columbia Mule Day. Our mutual friend Bonnie Shields would also be there with her booth and it seemed like a great idea to Roy and I. So we booked our flights and on March 28 we flew from Edmonton, Alberta, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and then had to catch another flight to Nashville, Tennessee. We spent our first day trying to get around Nashville but by Friday morning, March 29 we were itching to get to Columbia, knowing that the show had actually started March 26. For a couple of Albertan’s where the land is mostly laid out in ‘’squares’’ and all towns and cities have streets and avenues, we had a tough time following the winding roads and roads that were one name here and further along had changed their names. When we finally found the grounds in Columbia and then finally our motel, we were quite tired of driving in circles and wondering which direction we were going now!
At the grounds, we missed most of the draft classes because we didn’t realize that there were two show rings. We did catch most of the gaited mule classes and also the speed/fun classes on Sunday. We were impressed with the quarter horse type mules that really excelled here. We had never seen much of the gaited mules before so that was real interesting too.
There were lots of vendors and fast food booths. We never did get over how southerners love fried foods! We even saw a sign for fried cheesecake.
We had a great time watching the very long parade on Saturday in downtown Columbia. It was impressive the number of mules and horses that participated. At times riders would be “en masse’’ and I think everyone that owned a horse or a mule in middle Tennessee was there! Most just dressed in their everyday clothes, again something that surprised us. Along with that, there had to be at least 50 mule teams and quite a few horse teams. Most of them were looking good and had attractive harness. All in all, a real experience for us to see how things are done ‘’in the south.’’
Overall it was a very interesting and a well run show and we very much enjoyed it. We also really enjoyed the unseasonably hot weather they were having. Everything was lush green and many trees and plants were in bloom. Tennessee is definitely a very pretty country and we had a great time. For information on Mule Day, or to get on their mailing list for next year, look up www.muleday.com.