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Donkey Club Forming In Tennessee by Tom Burriss A Donkey Club is currently forming for the state of Tennessee. Lydia Spears of Hohenwald, TN is building up the steam to get the club going. Although already having met informally, a meeting will be held to solidify many aspects of the club on April 21, 2002 at 3 p.m. at Stans Restaurant in Columbia, TN. The mission of the group is to promote the donkey. "The donkey has kind of a negative image," says Spears. "People think they are stubborn, mean. That they bite and kick." By having the membership attend parades, fairs, and exhibitions, and to establish some donkey shows, people will be able to find out, "how sweet and fun they are," she says. The club will cover all types of donkeys, from miniature to mammoth, and all those between. They also hope to be able to have classes included for the donkey at Mule Days and at fairs. The group has been already meeting regularly. There were twelve people who assembled for the inaugural meeting. The group has blossomed to twenty regulars. The coming meeting will be one to solidify memberships, meeting regularity, and place, as well as officers. Spears said that she has many contacts in both West and East Tennessee and that the group would be looking to branch into more easily accessible locations. For the near future they will be meeting centrally. As well, the club plans to make a regular habit of meeting on member farms, instead of just in one place all the time. Possible meeting topics will be demonstrations on showing, clipping, or driving donkeys. Lydia is relatively new to donkeys herself. Approximately two and a half years ago, she sold her last quarter horse. For her and her daughter, size was an important issue. They still had all this tack, and Lydia having gotten used to having animals around all the time, needed something. So they talked it over and decided that miniature donkeys would be worth a try. The enthusiasm has grown. They are regulars at parades, showed two geldings in halter classes last year, and are training some to pull. They are expecting their first baby donkey very soon from their five year old Jenny, Peaches. For more information on the Tennessee Donkey Club, contact Lydia Spears at home: 931-796-4920 or

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