ELLICOTT, Colo.-- --
Ten Schriever Airmen went head-to-head against Ellicott High School students and faculty members during a donkey basketball mini tournament at Ellicott, Colorado, Sept. 20.
The event was an opportunity for Airmen to volunteer for a unique activity while partnering with the local Ellicott school.
It featured participants riding donkeys while trying to pass a basketball to teammates and score points inside the high school’s gymnasium.
According to Khalil Davis, space vehicle operator with the 1st Space Operations Squadron and Schriever team member, the event was not only a fun volunteer opportunity, but a challenge as it required coordination, accuracy and lots of patience.
“First, you had to get the donkey to calm down,” Davis said. “It took a bit, but we finally started moving, coordinating as a team and scoring points.”
Each team consisted of four riders who substituted in between two eight minute matches making up a 16 minute set. The trained donkeys were assigned to the player based on their weight and size and given protective saddles for their health.
Schriever AFB’s ten-person team prevailed over the high school faculty members’ team in the first set with a score of 6-4, before moving on to the eight minute championship match.
McKinney Malory, maintenance analyst with the 50th Space Communications Squadron, said the first set was all about adjusting to the game’s unique transportation.
“I flew off the donkey a few times,” he said. “However, once you get the hang of riding the donkey, it was a lot of fun.”
The championship match pitted the Schriever AFB team against the Ellicott boys team, clad in their home team jerseys and protective padding, in a well-contested bout.
Malory put points on the board for Schriever AFB with an aimed shot from the free throw line, while the boys team came back with an off-the-rim shot late in the first half.
The second half was no holds barred, with both teams’ members, on and off donkeys, rushing the gym floor in an effort to get the ball.
Malory said he was probably more confused than the donkeys were as the final half turned into a free-for-all.
“It was crazy,” he said. “My donkey was very temperamental the whole time. It was an interesting experience.”
After the court cleared, the score was tied 2-2. The decided tiebreaker was a classic game of rock paper scissors.
Malory stepped to the plate, saying he saw a chance to lead his team to victory.
Unfortunately, his split second decision to go with rock was met with his opponent’s paper.
“If we just played a one-on-one match we would’ve won,” he said.
Despite the loss, Cameron Crabtree, extremely high frequency satellite systems operator technician with the 50th Operations Support Squadron, said the tournament was a blast and a unique experience to engage with the local community for a good cause.
Crabtree encourages Airmen to volunteer, no matter how ridiculous the opportunity sounds.
“Get out there and volunteer,” Crabtree said. “Also, if you ever have a chance to play donkey basketball do it, it's fun.”