A parade of 50 ridden mules strolling down the streets of Warrensburg in west-central Missouri has set a world record. The University of Central Missouri is officially in the Guinness Book of World Records for doing just that.
Tiffany Cochran, senior director of events and alumni engagement, says making history with the community is one of the best parts of this whole undertaking.
“I think people thought we were crazy for a second,” she says. “It took us a year and a half to get it planned. And by golly, we set that world record and I think the entire community of Warrensburg and the University of Central Missouri could not be more pleased that it happened and we have some pretty awesome bragging rights now.”
About 1,500 people were at the parade.
What does it take to set a world record for the largest parade of ridden mules? Many sleepless nights.
The effort had to include a minimum of 20 mules.
Each mule was required beforehand to be verified that it was actually a mule. This required a blood test and paperwork to go along with it. They had to be within 13 feet of the next mule – in a straight line. A veterinarian had to check the health of each mule on site and to ensure their saddles were properly fitted. Video and photographic evidence were also required.
A parade of mules seems fitting – and so does having the parade during the university’s homecoming back in October.
Jackie Jackson, associate vice president for the UCM Alumni Foundation, says the school’s mascot has been a mule since 1922.
“We feel like this is the perfect animal to participate in this parade because it was a sight to see,” says Jackson. “They perked up they got in line and they seemed to know that this was their moment. It brought tears to people’s eyes.”
Tammy and Molly serve as the school’s live mascots.
“Now they are our local celebrities. It’s all about getting a picture with Tammy and Molly,” says Jackson.
The phrase “as stubborn as a mule” is used for a reason. Jackson and Cochran say not only are mules stubborn, but they are also very smart.
Cochran says she thinks the community will be talking about the march of the mules for years to come.
“As the mules started to walk down Holden Street, people held their breath. They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know if they should clap, if they should be quiet, if they should count. I mean, it was just a sight that it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we are doing this. The university is doing this. The city of Warrensburg is making this happen and we’re making history,’” says Cochran.
The mules were placed at the end of the parade – to prevent other participants from stepping in mule dumplings. Just in case you were wondering, the city’s street cleaner quickly took care of all that mule business left behind.
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