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Middle school plans to repeat as donkey champs

It's that time again to see your favorite teachers make total "asses" of themselves as they come together for the annual Donkey Basketball game next week, on Friday.

The fourth annual Donkey Basketball game will played at the high school gym on March 4 at 7 p.m.

The evening is full of laughs for the entire family and it helps the high school and middle school to raise funds for special programs to reward students.

Each year, for the evening, eight teams play in a tournament. The teams come from all walks of the community.

The Nye County School District puts up an elementary school staff team, a middle school staff team, a high school staff team, a high school student team and a Nye County School District staff team. In addition to the school district teams, there is a Pahrump business team, a Nye County Sheriff's team and a NyE Communities Coalition team.

The successful fundraiser was started four years ago by Rosemary Clarke Middle School Principal Tim Wombaker to raise money for a special fund for his students that pays for incentives and rewards for those who do well with grades, testing and attendance.

During the school year, students have an opportunity to earn bikes or win a trip to the Nugget Bowling Alley or Nevada Treasure RV, to name a few.

Wombaker said he had done this fundraiser up north and it was highly successful so he decided to start it down here.

Every year nearly a 1,000 tickets are sold and around $6,000 is raised.

The hype is strong for Rosemary Clarke. This team will try to repeat as town champs.

Greg Severts, a key player and assistant principal for the RCMS team, believes strongly his team cannot be beat.

"Our secret weapon is the Veloz brothers," he said. "They complement each other nicely, as their names so indicate, 'Nacho Cheese' and 'That's My Cheese'. Armando has great length and Ben is Mr. Consistent. We are confident we will win back-to-back championships. To be the best, you have to beat the best!"

Trojans wrestling coach Craig Rieger, a 4-year team member of the Pahrump Valley High School donkey team, thinks differently.

"To be the Man - you have to beat the Man - and I'm the Man," Rieger said in response to Severts.

Although it looks like there is a lot of planning and practice involved in riding the donkeys, Severts said it just looks that way.

"You really don't have to have much skill in the game of basketball at all," Severts said. "The keys to winning this game are to not fall off your donkey and to have a little luck."

That's definitely the fun and the draw as fans come to see people fall off the donkeys.

"The donkeys absolutely have a mind of their own, no amount of prodding or encouragement gets them to move when they don't want to," Severts added. "I believe I once heard them described as stubborn. Now I know why."

Although there isn't much skill involved, the RCMS team does stack its teams with hardened veterans of the game.

"I believe Ben and Armando (Veloz) were on the original team (riding all four years) and Tim Wombaker has been part of the team all four years, but only rode once - he learned his lesson," Severts said. "Wombaker, along with Cindy Allison, she's a seasoned vet and has been part of the team all four years, will play the "center" position. This will be my third year. And then we have two rookies to spell the veterans - Elliott Owens and Zoe Bertz."

Rieger said the high school team was looking for staff that had balance.

"It does take some balance to ride a donkey," he said. "The key to winning is to hustle for the loose ball, have some teammates that are patient and can make a shot while sitting on a donkey."

He said the high school team will have Mr. "K" back, Matt Kolodzieczyk.

"I just fed him the ball last year and he made the shots," Rieger said.

Tickets for Donkey Basketball are now on sale. Buy them now and get a $1 off the ticket price at the door.

Ticket for adults are $8, students 7th-12th grade are $6 and children K-6th are $4.

-Contact sports editor Vern hee at vhee@pvtimes.com


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