Indiana donkeys headed for Rose Bowl parade

Six donkeys will march in the Rose Bowl parade.
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Cat Andersen/Eyewitness News

Plainfield - A Hendricks County couple is headed for the Rose Bowl Parade with their team of miniature donkeys.

A team of six donkeys from Dunkin Acres Miniature Donkeys in Plainfield will be marching in the parade in Pasadena, California January 1.

"We're ecstatic," said owner Gerry Dunkin.

"I've never gone to the Rose Bowl. I've always thought I'd like to go, but going to see it with a different perspective, certainly this time than I ever thought I'd get to see it," said Ralph Dunkin.

While offering something a little different to the New Years tradition, miniature donkeys decked out like draft horses and pulling more than their own weight.

"A single donkey that drives a cart can pull two adults, easily," Gerry Dunkin said.

Their owners say the tricky part is getting them in parade day condition.

"If they don't back, you might as well pack your things and go home," Gerry Dunkin said.

She said they practice with the donkeys every other day.

"They learned to 'gee' and 'haw'," Dunkin said. "A gee is to the right, a haw is to the left."

The goal is to teach them to take commands and turn on a dime along the five-mile parade route.

"To keep them in a straight line so that all of them are pulling," Dunkin said.

The donkeys may be miniature, but they are a big hit. They've already traveled to the Kentucky Derby parade and the state fair. It's not every day you get to see donkeys driving a six-hitch wagon.

"We'll take eight. Two backups and the six that pull the wagon," Dunkin said.

Each one gets a half-hour shower to look their best. Their owners say the donkeys are irresistible.

"They're just like a dog. You don't have to chase it down to pet it," Gerry Dunkin said. "They enjoy hearing the noise they make."

"They really love little children," Ralph Dunkin said.

What started out as two pets for the Dunkins turned into a herd of 18. The team making the trip to Pasadena begin their three-day road trip Tuesday morning. The Plainfield Chamber of Commerce and private donations are financing the trip.