This year marks the West Virginia Mule and Donkey Show's 20th anniversary, and after that many years organizer Karen Carr is getting pretty good
at succinctly describing her event to those who wouldn't know a burro from a burrito.
"It's a horse show with nothing but mules and donkeys," Carr said.
The event, held each year at the Holly Gray Park in Sutton, just off Interstate 79's Flatwoods exit, begins at 4
p.m. Saturday with competitions like barrel and pole racing.
On Sunday the animals will compete in halter classes and jumping. Owners also will participate in the annual trail ride.
Donkeys are members of the horse family but are generally smaller and have a much different appearance from their equine brethren. Mules are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse and are unable to reproduce.
Carr started the event with friend Bob Smith. She came to know Smith through local horse shows, where she worked as an announcer and he was a judge and participant.
Smith was always more interested in mules than horses and suggested to Carr they start a show for mules and donkeys only. They had their first event in 1992.
It has since created quite a community of mule and donkey owners.
Carr said in some years about 400 animals are registered to compete in different classes. Animals come from all over the East Coast.
Carr said this year's show will feature owners from Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and past shows have featured mule and donkey owners from North
Carolina, Indiana and Kentucky.
"Here, everybody's laid back and relaxed. If you've got questions, they'll take time to answer any question you've got," she said.
Spectators sometimes travel long distances to attend the event. Carr said Thursday a family from Tennessee already was camping on the grounds for this weekend's show.