A Youthful Voice...The Advocate Youth Page Schyler Angell

By SCHYLER ANGELL
Associate Editor,
Advocate Youth Page

School is out for the summer, my favorite time of year! Summer activities are in full swing and I’m looking forward to lots of upcoming adventures!

Recently I wrote about competing in the FFA Leadership Development Contest called the Agricultural Issues Forum. My team discussed the pros and cons of the use of live animal mascots at sporting events.

Before competing at State FFA Convention, my team was able to present to John Dodam, a professor of veterinary medicine and surgery and biomedical sciences, as well as sponsor of The Missouri Mule Club at the University of Missouri. My team really enjoyed our time on campus where Mr. Dodam was also able to further educate us on the use of live animal mascots. This knowledge contributed to the success of our first place finish at State FFA Convention!

My team will compete at the National FFA Convention this October in Indianapolis, Indiana. Before I prepare to present on the national level, I wanted to learn more about the live mascots used in my home state, The Missouri Mules.

The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine has a tradition of having mules as live mascots. The tradition was started in 1984 by Dr. Robert Kahrs who at the time was the dean of the Veterinary School.

The first pair of mules to represent The MU Vet School were named Hillda and Louise. After they retired in 1996, the next pair of mules, Jill and Shirley, begin their time attending events such as 4-H events, schools, parades and fairs. The tradition still continues with the current set of mules, Tim and Terry.

Mr. Dodam described the mules as “worth their weight in gold” as they are docile and people oriented. I can attest to this because when I interviewed Mr. Dodam, I had the chance to ride in a wagon led by Tim and Terry! The mules were unphased by passing vehicles and buses down the busy streets of Columbia.

The duo does have lots of experience, as they are 26 years old. In fact, the vet school is looking for a good team of mules to soon replace Tim and Terry.

Until then, vet students at Mizzou who are members of Mule Club will continue to care for the mules. Individuals on the Mule Club officer team rotate feeding and caring for Tim and Terry every morning and night. The mules provide a unique opportunity for vet students to get hands on experience caring for livestock.

The students have taken the mules to the Missouri State Fair, Ozark Empire Fair and Mizzou Graduation. For the safety of the mules, they are not taken to the football stadium, however they are a part of Mizzou’s Homecoming Parade.

Every April, the mules attend the MU Vet School Open House where they give wagon rides to kids and generate conversations about agriculture and the University’s Vet School. Throughout the year, many people enjoy the tradition of the Missouri Mules. This shows as the mules are funded entirely by donations.

I enjoyed my wagon ride from Tim and Terry and I believe the tradition will continue on for many others to enjoy as well.