Remini-ass-cing with Mules and More
Taken from the Novemer 1988 issue of Mules and More magazine
by Connie Heady
A rural Coffeyville family's jumping mule has proven to be a fast animal as well. Booger's Chiquita, owned and trained by Jerry and Carolyn Villines of Route 2, won "The World's Richest Mule Race" September 9 at Ruidoso Downs, Ruidoso, New Mexico. Chiquita, a six-year-old mare mule, also won at Lubbock Downs, Lubbock, Texas, two weeks prior to Ruidoso.
After winning the race at Ruidoso and also at Luboock, Chiquita showed off her jumping skills for the audience. This year was Chiquita's first year to race.Villines started her race career at Stroud, Oklahoma, where she placed second.
Prior to her race career, Chiquita was used in competition in high jumping and reining events in mule shows in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.
The Villines's purchased Chiquita, at age 18 months, in western Kansas. She is out of a Three Bars mare and a Spanish Jack. When Chiquita completed the All-Mule Shodeo for Cerebral Palsy held annually by the Fireman and Mule Riders of Carhagem, Mo., she jumped an astonishing 72 inches to win the jumping event.
"She has a heart for competition and is just a delight to watch," Carolyn Villines said Thursday as she watched videotape of the event. "She is such a crowd-pleaser along with winning. And she does little grandstanding tactics, letting you know she is proud of her self."
Villines was born and raised in the hills of Arkansas, growing up around mules. He has been involved with every aspect of the mule competition. In 1986 David Baugh, a friend who the publisher of the Mules and More magazine of Carthage, Mol, told Villines about mule racing out west. Villines started training his mules to race. His first year in racing, 1986, produced Booger's Jackie, a winner at Lubbock Downs and Ruidoso Downs. Another one of his mules, Booger's Miss Onie, sold at Ruidoso this year. She was out of a mare that was related to Secretariat, the thoroughbred that won the Triple Crown in racing a few years back.
"Mules were misconceived," Villines said. "They were tacked with the word 'stubborn'. What they did was out-fox people. You have to be smarter than a mule to get him to function." The mule was more or less phased out when the agricultural society cme out with tractors. People began showing their mules in jumping and reining events to show the versatility and agility of mules. The mule shows produced classes for children under 14 in reining, jumping, pulling, barrel racing, and pole racing. Mules have been used for endurance racing against horses, usually winning. During President Washington's administration, the Emperor of Spain sent a gift of several jacks to the United States. The jacks were intentionally bred to horses and draft animals to produce work mules. By crossing a donkey, which has 64 chromosome genes, and a horse mare, which has 62 chromosome genes, a mule is produced, which has 63 chromosome genes. The mule is a hybrid and rarely reproduces.
Mules are now bred to thoroughbreds and quarter horses to get more agility. "The female mules are more compatible with people; their dispositions are better," Villines said as he put Chiquita through her paces for a jump. Next year, Villines can see Chiquita winning not only at Ruidoso and Lubbock, but also top races at Winnemucca, Nevade, and Bishop, California.