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January 17, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Donkey basketball fundraiser in Anacortes draws ire, called off

By Kera Wanielista
Skagit Valley Herald (MCT)

ANACORTES — A longstanding Anacortes Eagles No. 249 fundraising tradition has officially been canceled, Anacortes School District Superintendent Mark Wenzel said Thursday.

The event, which sees donkey riders facing off against each other in a basketball game, was scheduled to take place at Anacortes Middle School’s gym on Saturday.

Due to concerns and an uproar of negative feedback, the event, put on by Donkey Sports Inc., was canceled, Wenzel said.

The proposed event drew feedback and criticism at the local, state, national and even international level, Wenzel said. The district had been “inundated” with phone calls and emails, some from as far away as Australia.

“I think, regardless of where folks stand on this issue, the controversy isn’t good for Anacortes,” Wenzel said. “It took our focus away from student learning this week; we were inundated with emails and phone calls. So I think if we can avoid more controversy by not having a protest on the news on Saturday, it’s probably good for the community.”

Mike Gourley, trustee with the Anacortes Eagles No. 249, confirmed the event was canceled.

“And that kind of sucks,” Gourley said. “I used to ride for eight years, and the only people that got hurt was us, not the donkeys.”

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