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Bishop Mule Days is right around the corner

We’ve got some tips for navigating the biggest, brightest and best Mule Show in the country. Grab your boots and come on in.

image: competitors on mules

Number 1. Go Early, Go Often

Mule Days stretches over almost a week, and many of the most beloved events happen during the days before the big weekend shows. We recommend getting a copy of the program (check at the Mule Days office; open year round) and looking for the type of event you like best – jumping, dressage, packing (there are so many) – and dropping by the preliminaries during the week. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the amateur riders, the novice mules, the seasoned performers, the trainers and the coaches/parents. You’ll feel the disappointment of the ones who don’t make the cut, and the elation of the ones who advance to the next round. Return the next day, and watch as the top riders and mules emerge. Enjoy being backstage and walk around a lot… you’ll never forget it.

image: two women on a mule and a horse

Number 2. Embrace Your Inner Cowboy (or Girl)

Western style is fun, functional, and all-American. Don’t knock it, try it! Western style goes with mules like bacon goes with eggs. The jeans are tough enough to wipe your hands on after a messy taco, the boots are made to slide out of stirrups and around on a dance floor, and your hat style will declare what part of the country you call home. If you didn’t bring any western wear, no worries, this is Bishop! You can get a great pair of Wrangler jeans at The Toggery in town,  pair them with a western shirt from one of the local feed stores, add a comfortable pair of boots, and, of course, a hat. The hat is essential for its shade – and if you don’t find one you like in town, make sure one of your first stops is the vendor’s area at Mule Days … several vendors sell both felt and straw hats of all styles.  Try a few on, you’ll find one you love. Even if you aren’t normally a hat person, beware – western hats are addicting. Dress the part and heck, you might even be tempted to ride a mule.

image: sign saying mules for sale

Number 3. Tour the Barns

The barns are where you’ll get your mule education. You’ll see all colors, sizes, ages, and breeding. From fine-boned mules bred for showing, to draft mules with thick bones for pulling and driving, and athletic mules built for trails. It’s hard no fall in love with the babies, laugh at the prankster mules (there’s one in every row), and drool over the beautiful ones. The barns are free to walk through and a great place to take your kids. Mules will be eating, sleeping, playing over the rails, getting washed, groomed, saddled, and schooled. If you are in the market, the barns are where you’ll find that perfect mule. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either, as most mule people are happy to talk about mules and what makes them special.

image: mule days buckle from 1979

Number 4. Visit the Vendors

Looking for a perfect cast iron dutch oven? The vintage piece of turquoise you’ve been craving? The painting to fill the that empty spot over the sofa? Make time to visit the vendors…. selling everything from clothing to conchos, furniture to fine art, saddles to sectionals. Mule Days brings in quality vendors from all over the west and they are here for five full days but, speaking from experience, if you find something you like DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. These treasures go fast.

image: cotton candy on a stick

Number 5. Bring Your Appetite

Name your favorite food and you can probably find it. Frybread and Indian tacos, carnitas, pizza, sushi, hot dogs, fresh-squeezed lemonade, kettle corn, noodle bowls, ice cream and smoothies…. just about anything you can imagine you might want to eat is at Bishop Mule Days. Look for local non-profits serving up tri tip, and beloved local restaurants putting in overtime doing what they do so well. Look for the special events, too, like the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast. Why eat boring fast food when you can have fair food?

Bishop Mule Days is here May 25 – 30th this year. For more information and to purchase your tickets, go to the website:

We’ll see you there!