Since 1974, donkeys in Hilmar have played basketball. The annual fundraiser pits members of the boys and girls basketball teams against each other in a game played atop nature's most stubborn four-legged beasts.
Four 10-minute quarters are played as each team member sits on a donkey and attempts to score goals.
“It is such a good fundraiser for the student senior class activities,” said Hilmar Athletic Director Paul Willis. “And seeing it over the years with so many people and such a great support has been great."
The tradition has grown over the years, and in the last 15 years has included colorful costumes as well.
“Donkey basketball has always been a great tradition in Hilmar. It’s great to see it keep going strong throughout the years. It’s one of the things that make this town unique,” said 2007 Hilmar High graduate Beau Rudluff.
This year the event attracted 27 total seniors, 10 on the boy’s side and the other 17 with the girls.
By the end of the event the boys had come away with the win, 18-12, despite a late rally attempt from the girls.
“We always tried to keep the tradition alive because it was always such a great turnout,” said event host Cathy Mendes, who has been a part of the tradition since its existence.”