Donkey Basketball Fundraiser takes place in Pahrump - 8 News NOW

Donkey Basketball Fundraiser takes place in Pahrump

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LAS VEGAS -- Hundreds of spectators packed into Pahrump's only public high school gym to participate in an unusual fundraiser called Donkey Basketball, Friday.

Organizers call it a fun way to raise cash for schools; animal rights activists call it cruel.

The second annual Donkey Basketball game was held at Pahrump Valley High School in front of a packed house.

The crowd erupted in laughter as players brought in the donkeys they were about to ride.

Two teams made up of five players each went head to head, trying to score as many points as they could in the eight minute games.

The crowd cheered as players tried to navigate their donkeys toward the ball at first, and then to their respective hoop.

Players are constantly falling off their donkeys, and when the basketball gets loose, players have to dismount and pull their unwilling donkey to get the ball.

"It's absolutely fantastic, it's hysterical. I love it," said spectator Marilin Parry. "I've never seen anything like it in my entire life."

Riders wear helmets for their protection and the donkeys are fitted with special shoes so they don't slip on the hardwood.

"They tell us not to pull, yank and kick [the donkeys] and nobody wants to do that. They simply want to get on and make sure they hold on," explained organizer Tim Wombaker.

Wombaker is the principal of Rosemary Clarke Middle School and started the fundraiser in Pahrump last year.

"It was a great fundraiser, everybody had a lot of fun, it got the community out and raised some funds for the students," said Wombaker.

The 2013 event brought in around $2,400.

Wombaker adds schools across the country, not only in Nevada, are in need of money.

The fundraiser, however, is not sitting well with everyone, especially animal rights groups.

"What they're doing to these animals is cruel, these animals don't know what's going on, they're being kicked, they're being dragged around," said Kristen Corral, Vice President of Nevada Political Action for Animals. "They have basketballs flying at them, they have people screaming. there's loud noise, it's very very confusing for the animals."

Corral's group as well as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA, condemned the event and asked people to make their opinions heard.

Principal Wombaker says he received more than 300 e-mails and phone calls about the fundraiser.

However, not a single protestor showed up to the Donkey Basketball Game.

Principal Wombaker says Friday's event was more popular than last year. He expects close to $4,000 dollars were raised for Pahrump Schools.

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