Donkey basketball in Waterville

Championship team members are, back row, Justin Grillo, Hidaeaki Iba, Jackie Finkbeiner, Megann Erni and Samantha Fletcher. Not shown is Kris Daratha. Supporting the team are Khloe Suppes, Alivia Hosford and Rylann Lewis. (Empire Press photo/James Robinson)


By James Robinson
Empire Press Correspondent

David James and his daughter Saoirse enjoy time with one of the donkeys. (Empire Press photo/James Robinson)

The Waterville School FFA (Future Farmers of America) Chapter hosted a donkey basketball fundraising event on March 19 in the school gymnasium.

Donkeys, rather than feet, were the primary means of moving around the court for a fun evening benefiting a good cause.

The action centered around four teams — two comprised of community members and former Waterville students, and two made up of school staff.

Two six-minute halves were played, each with a community/alumni team facing a school staff team. The winner of each half met for the championship game.

Candice Smith and her daughter Josie with the donkeys. (Empire Press photo/James Robinson)

The school staff team 1 was this year’s champions. Team members were Kris Daratha, Jackie Finkbeiner, Samantha Fletcher, Justin Grillo, Hidaeake Iba and Megann Erni.

The official “pooper scoopers” were Adolfo Vela and Jesus Salas. Play-by-play announcer was Tayn Kendrick.

The donkeys were provided by Donkey Sports, Inc., of Entiat. Between the games, the audience was allowed to see the animals up close. Under supervision, children were also permitted to sit on them and that proved to be popular.

FFA advisor Mia Thomsen said that the group is raising money to attend the state FFA convention and also for their local projects. There are 24 students, from senior and junior high grades, in the local FFA program this year.

This year’s state convention will be held May 10-12 at Washington State University in Pullman. Activities and competitions will include job interviewing skills, public speaking, agriculture issues, trap shooting and more. Eighth graders will also participate in a quiz bowl competition.

For more information about FFA, visit


The donkey basketball game begins. The fundraising event was held March 19 to benefit the Waterville School FFA Chapter. (Empire Press photo/James Robinson)