"Jake" and "Charlie" Lightweight team pulling contest, September 24, 1994. Photo: Ken Tart / Benson Area Chamber of Commerce
Benson Mule Days
Held the fourth weekend in September, this four-day
event boasts the largest parade in North Carolina, lasting two
hours and composed of hundreds of entries, including thousands of
horses, buggies, and mules bringing up the rear. The mule contests,
featured in the first festival held in 1950, are attended by
entrants from all over the United States and their prized mules.
Among the many categories of competition are matched pair draft
mules, matched pair mini-mules, outstanding mule under two years,
single hitch driving, longest distance, youngest mule, oldest mule,
and coon jumping. The Grand Champion mule always leads the parade
with a red custom-made blanket over its back proclaiming it the
winner. Two different professional rodeos are performed daily. An
eight-mile trail ride is open to riders of horses, mules, buggies,
and wagons. A street dance draws thousands of participants Friday
and Saturday night, a four-day carnival offers rides and games, and
over 100 vendors sell food and souvenirs. The festival has roots in
Benson's history as a mule-trading center since the town was
chartered in 1887.
Originally submitted by: Bob Etheridge, Representative (2nd District).
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