Opening Night Supper – Dave Stamey with special guest Kristyn Harris

The Bishop Mule Days Celebration is excited to welcome back seven-time winner of the Western Music Hall of Fame Entertainer of the Year, Dave Stamey. From cowboy to mule packer, dude wrangler, and celebrated musician, Stamey tells stories through soulful vocals and guitar melodies. A crowd and industry favorite, this legend will be taking the stage at the Mule Days Opening Night Supper to share his acclaimed songs; from fan favorites like “Wild Sierra,” to his newly released “Let Me Sell You a Dream.”

For more than 15 years, Stamey has returned to the Bishop Mule Days Celebration. With each performance, Mule Days audiences have laughed, tapped their toes and cheered with delight at Stamey’s heart-touching performances. Through his authentic Western music, as well as in his every-day life, this self-proclaimed “Buckaroo Man” embodies the heart of the Sierra and the true Western lifestyle as a whole. Every lyric and vocal is an opportunity to journey through the life and truth of the Western experience. Everyone, regardless of background, can relate to the stories and songs by this guitar-strumming poet.

Joining Stamey onstage in a cameo appearance for a night of timeless entertainment is two-time Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year, Kristyn Harris. Harris brings a modern-day voice and youthful perspective while staying true to the root of cowboy music and the Western lifestyle. Or as Stamey himself says of her, “She’s one of the brightest young talents in this or any other genre…

This popular Bishop Mule Days Celebration event will sell out quickly! Doors open 5 pm. Charles Brown Auditorium.

Tickets for the Wednesday, May 23, 2018, Opening Night Supper are $40 and can be purchased at www.muledays.org or by calling the Bishop Mule Days Celebration office at (760) 872-4263.

To learn more about Stamey and his music, visit www.davestamey.com

A Week of Wonderful Music – Kristyn Harris

Two-time Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year Kristyn Harris will grace the Bishop Mule Days Celebration’s musical stages and weekend performances with her shimmering vocals. Harris will not only help make magic during the week’s concerts, she will be bringing her passion and Western style to the main arena for the National Anthem throughout the weekend.

Kristyn Harris’ story and music can be found at www.kristynharris.com

Headlining Concert – Tony Suraci, the Highwayman, with special guest Kristyn Harris

Get ready for a night of unforgettable outlaw country as the Bishop Mule Days Celebration presents Tony Suraci, the Highwayman, for the headline concert. Suraci offers a unique night of magical entertainment as he takes audiences on a journey through the best of outlaw country music, performing songs by the legendary voices of the original “Highwaymen” – Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings.

Suraci and his four-piece band have the uncanny ability to channel each of the original Highwaymen in voice as well as stage presence. Suraci’s smooth vocals combined with his diversity as a musician and entertainer pays honest tribute to these greats of outlaw country. Each song emulates these legends while maintaining Suraci’s individuality, spirit, and love of music.

Kristyn Harris will be joining the Highwayman onstage, bringing her unique female vocals to this special night. Harris’ modern day, timeless voice pairs beautifully with Suraci’s stylings of Cash, Nelson, Kristofferson and Jennings to create a truly special, can’t-miss night of great music.

Tickets for the Thursday May 24, 2018, Back to Our Western Roots Concert are $60 for VIP reserved seating with the hors d’oeuvre, no-host bar and Meet & Greet, and $40 for general admission reserved seating. VIP Meet & Greet 5:30 pm. Concert 7:30 pm. Charles Brown Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at www.muledays.org or by calling the Bishop Mule Days Celebration office at (760) 872-4263.

Find more information about Suraci, the Highwayman, at www.facebook.com/Tony-Suraci-Music-196799503683404

Friday Afternoon BBQ – Coale Johnson

This year the Friday afternoon BBQ will feature entertainment by an Eastern Sierra native, Coale Johnson.

Johnson draws inspiration from a variety of artists such as Muddy Waters, the Beatles, Merle Haggard, Frank Sinatra and Billy Holiday. Those inspirations shine through in his music, which is described as “folk/rock/jazz with a subtle twang.”

BBQ 4 pm – 6 pm. Charles Brown Auditorium.

Tickets for the Friday, May 25, 2018 Mule Days Friday BBQ are $25 and can be purchased at www.muledays.org or by calling the Mule Days office at (760) 872-4263.

For more information about Coale Johnson, visit www.coale-johnson.com

Saturday Night Dance – Monte Mills

Dust off the ol’ dancing boots and get ready for the Saturday Night Dance with Monte Mills and the Lucky Horseshoe Band. This traditional Western Swing country band will be gracing the stage to bring smiles to faces and rhythm to feet.

Mills, who has opened for Merle Haggard, is an artist of the western experience. As a farrier and auctioneer by trade, Mills’ music is filled with authenticity and heart. He also is one of the last yodeling cowboys. He brings his love of swing music, love of performing and love of the western life to every performance.

Let’s hit the dance floor! Doors open 8:30 pm. Charles Brown Auditorium.

Tickets for the Saturday, May 26, 2018, Saturday Night Dance are $10 and can be purchased www.muledays.org or by calling the Mule Days office at (760) 872-4263 or at the door.

Visit www.montemills.com and polish your boots for a swingin’ good time!

Bobby Kerr Mustang Act

Returning for his second year of entertaining the Bishop Mule Days Celebration crowd with jaw-dropping performances is Bobby Kerr and his beautiful mustangs. Kerr is the 2017 NFR’s Specialty Act of the Year award, and Mule Days is honored to have Kerr and his horses back in the arena this year. The performances will amaze and entertain while leaving the audience with a greater appreciation of the partnership between man and equine.

Kerr spent 45 years training and showing horses in cutting, reining, roping and working cow-horse, and later began working with mustangs through the Mustang Makeover competitions. His show now helps to shed light on the challenges of the modern day American Mustang while preserving a piece of American history. Kerr brings back the dazzle of the Wild West performances in a one of a kind act that showcases these animals’ athleticism and trust between a cowboy and his once wild horses.

To describe what Kerr does in the arena with his mustangs is like trying to describe what the American Mustang means to Western heritage; there are simply no words to capture the honesty and beauty. However, if there are words, Kerr says it best, “He’s an American Mustang, a hero of our nation, ‘cause he’s a symbol of freedom and God’s great creation.”

Bobby Kerr and his majestic mustangs will be performing in each of the five weekend shows in the main arena. Don’t miss this one of a kind performer who captures the heart of Western American History.

To learn more about Kerr, including stories about his mustangs and poems, visit www.bobbykerr.net

Jason Goodman and the Young Living Essential Oils Percherons

Back by popular demand is Jason Goodman and the Young Living Essential Oils Percherons.

No stranger to the Bishop Mule Days Celebration, Jason Goodman attended as a youngster with his uncle, Mule Days legend Von Twitchell. Now as adult, he has been astounding Mule Days crowds with exhibitions set to high energy music that showcase the true talent of his driving skills and massive Percheron horses. Goodman takes his six outstanding horses through a series of maneuvers rarely seen in this day and age, driving the Young Living Essential Oils wagon through circles, large and small figure eights, then putting these amazing horses into a high-speed gallop around the Mike Boothe Memorial arena. Those who have seen the “big black horses” thunder through the Mule Days arena describe the experience as breathtaking, and the display is a favorite for many.

Be sure to catch the power and beauty displayed by Goodman and his thundering Percherons in each of the five weekend shows in the main arena and the Saturday morning parade.

20 Mule Team

In an unforgettable display of history coming to life, the 20 Mule Team and teamster Bobby Tanner will be returning to the Bishop Mule Days Celebration this year. Tanner, who is a legend in the mule industry and the Sierra, rumbles the arena with the only known authentic working 20 Mule Team that still operates as they did in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Historically, 1906 marked the last time a 20 Mule Team was used to haul ore for the borax mines in Death Valley. Since then the art was reduced to a promotional display. Tanner brought this unique hitch back to life nearly 20 years ago by re-creating the strength and skill of the working 20 Mule Team.

The mules, which are lined up in two rows of 10, are steered by a single jerk line that runs between the two rows. The two main wagons pulled by the 20 Mule Team are recently constructed, exact replicas of the original borax ore wagons pulled by the teams in Death Valley. Tanner said these are, to his and other 20 Mule Team historians’ knowledge, the only operational set of these wagons in the world. Ten years of research went into the design of the new wagons, which were completed in December of 2016, as a collaborative effort between Tanner, the Death Valley Conservancy, and other mule-loving partners.

Tanner’s team also showcases what the mule has come to represent to the Sierra. Not only are the mules bringing history to life with a skill that is rivaled by none, they also give life to the backcountry by carrying on the tradition of packing for Red’s Meadow Pack Station. These famous long-ears also showcase their talents under the saddle by taking world titles in the show ring at Mule Days. Watching the 20 Mule Team is not just about witnessing a master teamster at work or a one of a kind performance; it’s also about celebrating a group of animals and a display that represents all the unique qualities of the mule – strength, power, agility, trust, intelligence and versatility.

As Bobby Tanner says with a chuckle, “I love an animal that makes me look good.”

Come witness this magnificent display of history during the Bishop Mule Days Celebration Saturday parade, as well as the Saturday and Sunday afternoon performances. Don’t miss the chance to meet and greet the mules and teamsters in the arena at the end of the Sunday afternoon show.

Frankie “Punkintown” Smith

Entertainment! It is not what I do. It is who I am. It is awesome to wake up every morning and love your job, or at least that’s what some people call it. I say it is great to get up every day and be myself. I don’t have to hide behind makeup and put on an act, I just get to be me.” – Punkintown Smith

The Bishop Mule Days Celebration has seen many performers come and go in its 49 years, and Frankie “Punkintown” Smith has become one of the all-time favorites. His heart and love of performing radiates with every word and step in the arena. Frankie truly embodies what the Bishop Mule Days Celebration is and what it stands for; from his love of God and country to his crossover to the world of the mule.

This year marks Punkintown’s fifth year of entertaining Mule Days crowds. In his first year, Punkintown came as a stand-up comedian and pastor, performing acts with his trick pony and making everyone laugh with his arena antics. It did not take long for his story to become like many other first timers; Punkintown left the 2014 Bishop Mule Days Celebration a proud, first-time owner of a Festus Haggen “Ruth” remake. At the time, Punkintown approached 20-Mule Team teamster Bobby Tanner, interested in purchasing a mule after being “blown away by their versatility” during the weekend shows. Punkintown, who had been a Quarter Horse man all his life, wanted to see what life was like for all these crazy mule people. Punkintown went into the sale pen expecting to pick his mule, but as the story goes, the mule picked him instead. Thus began Punkintown’s entry into the mule world with his equine partner, “Mini Pearl, the girl that wrecked my world.”

Mini Pearl and Punkintown got off to a rough start. This feisty, rebellious, barely-broke equine gave Punkintown every mule quality she possessed; she gave him an intelligent and a stubborn fight that he had never seen before. He called up Bobby Tanner and asked what was going on, to which Bobby shared the truth of working with mules. “Don’t fight with her, make her think it’s her idea, and have patience.”

From that point on, Punkintown worked on their foundation – trust, patience, communication – and there they began forming a relationship. Within two months, he was able to stand on Mini Pearl’s back.

Today, Punkintown travels the country as a friend and ambassador of the mule; from working cattle to shows where he stands on Mini Pearl’s back, clogging and entertaining crowds in brightly lit arenas. Punkintown says mules inspire him. Mules are different than any animal he has ever encountered, and forming a partnership with a mule is something truly special. Punkintown says the Bishop Mule Days Celebration is his favorite place to come every year and the graciousness of the mule world is truly unique.

Frankie “Punkintown” Smith will be entertaining all weekend in the main arena as “Punkintown” the clown. He also will lead the Cowboy Church service on Sunday morning. Don’t miss as he and Mini Pearl demonstrate the versatility and true partnership between a man and a mule who packs, drives, rides, and clogs.

More Punkintown fun can be found at www.punkintown.com

Entertainment Blog written by Mariah Keuler