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While 2018 may be ending, excitement for the 50th Anniversary Bishop Mule Days Celebration is already getting started – and it’s going to be a celebration worthy of a half-century of memorable shenanigans in Bishop, California. Here are just of the few of the highlights in store for Mule Days 2019.
Opening Night Supper
Doors open at 5 p.m. dinner at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Tickets available now!
Known for his accordion-strumming, vaudeville-cowboy style performances, Sourdough Slim is an entertainer of true boot-tapping caliber. Slim is an award winning yodeler and has been performing since the 1970s. His expert mixture of pre-World War II jazz, country, blues and cowboy classics have given him a unique style that has taken him all over the country entertaining and delighting audiences of all ages.
The opening night supper will be catered by Classy Cowgirl Catering of Bishop. On the menu, there will be prime rib, chicken, potatoes, salads and a mouth-watering dessert. The best way to describe this event is as simply the best way to kick-off the Bishop Mule Days Celebration.
Tickets are $40 per person.
Riders in the Sky, and Dave Stamey
Meet and greet 5:30 p.m. concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23, 2019
Tickets will be available Feb. 1, 2019
The cowboy quartet behind the Toy Story 2 hit “Woody’s Roundup” is coming to the Bishop Mule Days Celebration. The group’s album “Woody’s Roundup” earned them a Grammy in 2001 as the year’s best album for children – but that is only one of the many highlights of their career, which began in the 1970s. Their performances are perfect for families, delighting everyone from grandparents who grew up watching Will Rogers to children who love Pixar. Arriving in Bishop for the first time, Riders in the Sky will be performing as the headline concert for the 50th Mule Days, following an opening act by Dave Stamey.
Stamey is not only one of the most popular western entertainers today, he’s a bit of a Mule Days legend. The man who’s career in Western music began on an Eastern Sierra backcountry trail has been voted Entertainer of the Year seven times by the Western Music Association, and is a member of the Western Music Hall of Fame. There’s something special about his Mule Days performances, and as the opening act for Riders in the Sky, his performance at Mule Days 2019 is not to be missed.
Tickets for the Thursday concert will go on sale Feb. 1, and will be $75 for the Meet and Greet, or $45 for the concert.
4:30 p.m. Friday, May 24, 2019
Tickets available now!
Local musician and mule enthusiast Coale Johnson will be bringing the tunes to this classic Mule Days event. Johnson’s style encompasses everything from jazz to western, with some classic rock and folk thrown in for good measure. His Mule Days debut last year was a huge hit, and he’s already looking forward to making Mule Days 50 extra special.
The food for the barbecue will be catered by Carson City BBQ.
Tickets for the Friday BBQ are $27 per person.
Monte Mills and the Lucky Horseshoe Band
Saturday Night Dance
Doors open at 9 p.m. Saturday May 25, 2019
Monte Mills may be a farrier and auctioneer by trade, but he’s a king of western swing, and he’s bringing his crew to Bishop’s biggest boot stompin’ party. With his independent record label, “Lucky Horseshoe Records,” Mills has recorded several albums, and has performed at fairs and dances all across central California. His lively tunes are contagious, so come prepared to stomp those boots!
The Saturday night dance at Mule Days is a fantastic opportunity to perfect those dance moves and is a celebration of cowboy culture. Tickets are $10 each.
Other fun in store:
Young Living Essential Oils Percheron Thunder
The Mule Days team is often asked, “Are the big black horses coming this year?” These incredible horses are an awe-inspiring sight to see, and are definitely on the list of “must see” acts at Mule Days. This year, the answer is yes, as the Young Living Essential Oils Percheron Thunder will be returning to storm Mule Days 50. Whenever driver Jason Goodman lets loose his team, thunder rolls as the six, several-thousand-pound draft horses run at full gallop through the arena. It’s become one of the most popular displays at Mule Days, both in the weekend arena shows and in the Saturday parade.
Frankie “Punkintown” Smith
The much-beloved rodeo clown and his mule Mini Pearl will be returning once again to entertain the Mule Days arena crowd with his hilarious antics and award winning talent. One of his most famous displays is his clogging, which he does on a platform attached to Mini Pearl’s back. But Punkintown’s comedic arena shenanigans are only the start of the many parts of Mule Days in which the clown is involved. He is involved with the “I wanna be a rodeo clown” children’s program and preaches for cowboy church on Sunday morning at the Tri-County Fairgrounds.
The 20 Mule Team
Perhaps the most iconic display of the Bishop Mule Days Celebration, the 20 Mule Team is not only historic, it also is beautiful. Twenty dark-colored mules pull two massive wagons, which are exact replicas of the historic borax wagons that were once seen crossing the Mojave desert from Death Valley. These replicas are the only known operable set of these wagons in the world. The world famous display will appear in the parade Saturday morning. There also will be a demonstration and meet and greet in the main arena after the Sunday afternoon show. The audience will have the opportunity to meet these mule celebrities – and their amazing human team – in person.
General Admission tickets to the arena shows are available now at muledays.org or by calling the Mule Days office at (760) 872-4263. Reserved grandstand seats and tickets to the Riders in the Sky concert will be available Feb. 1, 2019.
By Kristina Blüm Justice