Donkeys Rule The Court

Fountain Hill’s JYM hosts an annual donkey basketball game as a fundraiser for the Fountain Hill alumni banquet it hosts every year.

The annual Donkey Basketball benefit game between Ashley and Drew counties was Oct. 23, and the JYM building in Fountain Hill was full of spectators cheering on the men and women that volunteered their time for the sake of entertainment.

The event was put on by the owners and operators of the JYM, or Jesus You and Me building, Clint and Amanda Jeffers. The proceeds go toward funding the Fountain Hill alumni banquet they host every October. 

This year the basketball game nearly reached Amanda Jeffers’ target attendance. 

“We didn’t want it to be completely full and have people elbow to elbow,” so she had decided that 350 would be a good number for occupancy this year.

“There were 310 tickets sold, so we got quite close, and I’m not unhappy about the turnout at all.”

The match was between Ashley County and Drew County. Team Ashley County was comprised of Jack Pruitt, Dakota Fitch, Sheena Kinney, Jay Johnston, Steven Terry, and Tammy Allison. Drew County’s team members were Clayton Pharr, Ashton Kelly, Stephen Kelly, Jay Jeffers, Devin Burton, and Brad Sears. 

Knowledge of all of the rules of donkey basketball was not necessary to enjoy the game. It is played essentially the same as regular basketball, but with a rule that the players had to have hands, or other body parts, upon their donkey at all times. 

Since donkeys are notoriously stubborn, this made for moments the audience found hilarious. The donkeys were not as concerned with making baskets as the human players were. At halftime the score was 4-2 in favor of Ashley County. 

During halftime, the donkeys continued playing games while their human handlers took a break. The donkeys’ backs became prime real estate during a game of Musical Donkeys. The game was very competitive, with neither of the two finalists able to stay on the donkey for very long before the other one pulled them off. A tiebreaker was initiated to determine a winner. The two remaining players had to crawl on their hands and knees from opposite ends of the court to the center where the donkey was standing. 

Both ladies were crawling faster than expected on such a hard surface, but one had the clear advantage. A winner was crowned, and received a kiss from the donkey. The loser avoided the kiss on the donkey rump the announcer suggested. The donkey and woman parted as friends, with her shaking hands with the donkey’s tail. 

After halftime the donkey basketball got right back on track. Ashley County continued to push forward — or pull, whichever made the donkey move more — but the Drew County team showed off their moves as well. Jeffers literally bent over his donkey backwards in an attempt to retrieve a loose ball without dismounting. The donkey Pharr was riding at the end of the match was perhaps the smallest one, but it packed a wallop. Pharr involuntarily went over the donkey’s head more than once, and despite his animal’s reluctance he was still able to run the ball up and down the court quite effectively. 

The crowd stayed excited until the end of the match, and neither of the teams gave up. Ashley County’s team won this year’s charity donkey basketball game. The final score was 6-4. There were not many baskets made in this installment of Fountain Hill donkey basketball but there were memories — and shenanigans — made by the people off and on the court.