On your mark. Get set. Go.
Or, maybe not. That’s pretty much up to the donkeys.
Plans are under way for one of the favorite fundraising events of the year, Mount Airy Middle Schools’ annual Donkey Basketball competition.
This year’s fundraiser is set for Saturday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m. in the gymnasium of the school.
The premise is fairly simple, if not easy to accomplish. Contestants will take the floor on the backs of donkeys and attempt to have a basketball game. The two winning teams from the first round will meet in a championship game while the other two teams will meet in a consolation game.
Organizer Cathy Hiatt, the chair of the eighth grade at Mount Airy Middle School, said proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward a scholarship fund to help students attend a trip to Washington, D.C.
“This is a new trip for us this year,” she said. “We’re planning for it to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“They’re going to see and do it all. We’re planning trips to the Smithsonian, all the memorials, the students will get to ride the Metro, it’s going to be an eye-opener for these kids,” Hiatt added.
In addition, the students will have the opportunity to tour the U.S. Capitol and visit the White House viewing area.
But the trip is expensive, and Hiatt said she is hoping for a standing-room-only crowd.
“The cost of the trip is over $300 per student, and we’re in tough economic times,” she said. “All the money we raise will go toward helping students take the trip.”
In addition to the lively basketball competition, Hiatt is holding a silent auction of some much-coveted items during the fundraiser.
“There will be a lot of great things from local businesses, but we have some big-ticket items like tickets to a UNC/Wake Forest basketball game and club seat tickets for a Carolina Panthers game,” she said.
Organizers will also be holding a raffle for a Husqvarna chain saw as well as a 50/50 raffle.
Tickets for the event, which begins at 6 p.m., are $6 in advance and are on sale in the middle school’s front office until Friday. They are $8 at the door, with children 3 and younger admitted for free.
There also will be concessions available during the games and $1 donkey rides at intermission for children 12 and younger.
“This is a great event,” Hiatt said with a laugh. “I think that’s why we have a packed house every year. It’s fun, both the participants and crowd have a really good time.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.