That’s mule like it

Callaway fair’s mule show continues tradition

Skyler Young wrestles with her mule during the halter class Tuesday night.

Skyler Young wrestles with her mule during the halter class Tuesday night. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

The board of the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair has made a concertive effort over the past several years to bring a more old-fashioned, family feel to the fair. Part of

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Chet Johnson’s mule gets away from him a bit during the western pleasure class of the mule show at the county fair Tuesday night.

those efforts included the return several years ago of the mule show, which event organizer Hershel Linnenbringer said keeps an important piece of Callaway County culture going.

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Vinnie Wittstruck, 6, of Marys Home sports one of his grandfather's winning buckles while competing in the lead class during the mule show at the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair Tuesday night. Wittstruck said his grandfather, Mike Call, is one of the reasons he started competing in mule shows when he was 4.

“That’s part of our heritage, and we need to keep mules alive here in Callaway County,” Linnenbringer said, adding that was why he went to the board four years ago and offered to put the show on if the board would bring it back. “I’m big into mules. I like mules, I raise mules, I show mules.”

Judging by the turnout at Tuesday night’s show, Linnenbringer’s goal to keep the tradition alive was met, with many of the participants sharing his view.

“It’s the state animal. You can’t have a fair without the state animal,” opined Dan Coleman of Millersburg, who until recently owned and operated C MO Mules.

His wife, Marsha, agreed, adding that Missouri, “has a lot of history with mules, especially in Callaway County.”

“We just like mules. We trail ride a lot and it’s just good family fun,” Marsha Coleman said of the couple’s love for mules — which includes putting on the mule show at the Boone County Fair.

She said mules should continue to be an important part of the county fair because it keeps them in the public view.

“It’s nice to get a chance to get out and show them,” Coleman said.

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