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‘Donkey Basketball’ tourney to raise money for King Turkey Day next week

WORTHINGTON -- This year's King Turkey Day fundraiser will be a different animal than the past. Donkeys will take over the Worthington High School gymnasium at 7 p.m. Monday with the first-ever King Turkey Day Donkey Basketball tournament fundraiser.

WORTHINGTON - This year’s King Turkey Day fundraiser will be a different animal than the past.

 

Donkeys will take over the Worthington High School gymnasium at 7 p.m. Monday with the first-ever King Turkey Day Donkey Basketball tournament fundraiser. Holly Sieve and Susanne Murphy, KTD special events co-chairs, have spent the last month recruiting players to be part of the extravaganza.

 

Murphy explained that with the closure of Oxford Bowl, the board had to look for a replacement for the annual KTD bowling fundraiser.

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“Holly and I and our families went to check out this donkey basketball in Madelia, and it was such a blast,” Murphy said.

 

“We laughed from the second we got there until it was done,” Sieve said.

 

There will be four teams of eight competitors each, with each squad playing two eight-minute games. Competitors are not allowed to dribble and can only shoot baskets if they are on the donkey.

 

After witnessing the competition in Madelia, Sieve and Murphy said the biggest challenge for participants won’t be making the baskets - it will be staying on the donkey.

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“Actually, making the baskets are the least of your endeavors,” Sieve said. “The point is to stay on the donkey. It’s not a high-scoring game by any means. You are lucky to make a point or two because it’s hard to stay on it.”

 

Participants will be provided with helmets, but Murphy advises some extra protection.

 

“I encourage them to bring knee and elbow pads,” Murphy said, giggling.  

 

In the first round, District 518 faculty and staff will battle against students while a team represented by Young Professionals Network members will play against “other” professionals. The two winners will fight for the championship in an eight-minute game.

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Team members will not only have to show their basketball skills during the game, but patience will be a must when donkey teammates don’t cooperate.  

 

“Some of them don’t move a lot and then there are some others that run a lot,” Murphy said. “Sometimes they lay down and you can’t get them up, or sometimes they roll on their back like they have an itch or something, or sometimes they need to go to the bathroom.”

 

Between the games, the KTD board of directors will lead the donkeys around the gymnasium and kids under age 11 will be able to get donkey rides for free. Attendees will be able to enjoy pork sandwiches, thanks to the sponsorship of JBS. Chips and beverages are also included.

 

Murphy has been part of the KTD board for nine years, She said it’s very rewarding being able to collaborate with others to make the annual celebration possible.  

 

“You just smile all weekend during KTD because there are thousands of people who come, and you know you had a behind-the-scenes part in making it happen,” Murphy said.

 

Sieve, who was born and raised in Worthington, has never missed the festivity, and is enthusiastic about helping make such an important event for the community happen.

 

“I am excited to help with the behind-the-scenes part of it,” Sieve said. “I was really honored to be asked to be part of it.”

 

Sieve explained local businesses and individuals have been very generous in helping sponsor the event. Sponsors include Sanford Worthington, Ron’s Repair, Nickel & Associates, Ground Round Grill & Bar, Hy-Vee, Pizza Ranch and First State Insurance Agency SW, Inc, among others.

 

Tickets can be purchased at Holiday gas stations, The Daily Apple and the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, or by calling Sieve at 360-6579 or Murphy at 360-6699.

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