Winds of Change.... Do we embrace them?
We have made our living training mules all our lives. We train them to ride and drive for clients all over the country. We love it. We understand the mules. We admire the mules. We want to show how amazing and great mules are! One way we do this is by driving them at Winterhaven in Tucson Arizona. Winterhaven is just the best with the teams and wagons. Simply beautiful. Amazing too... having teams alongside people walking the streets, enjoying the light show... Incredible! This accomplishment is remarkable.
Of course, with all good, there is risk…. Winterhaven has grown so tremendously over the last two years to a size never imagined by any of us involved. This amazing and beautiful festival of lights has became known all over the world! We have had clients come and ride with us all the way from Europe, Australia, and many other places. This has became a destination! Unbelievable. Sadly, because of this tremendous growth, the risk involved with having our beloved mules in winterhaven has also grown tremendously.
Because of this growth and because of trying to live our lives honestly and morally, we have reached a crossroads in our winterhaven event. All involved with the production of the Festival are debating on how to increase safety inside of the event? As the wagon vendors, we ask ourselves... How can we proceed with our wagon rides and still maintain the level of safety that we have held ourselves and our company to year after year with the enormous work and accomplishments by us, our staff and of course…. Our mules! Simply put, it is time we decide whether the wagons rides should continue with mules at the front or is it time to convert to vehicles out of respect for the safety of those on our wagons, people walking around in winterhaven, and our mules. We love our mules. We love having them in winterhaven. We love promoting the beauty and work ethic of the mules. We love advocating for their amazing talents by driving them in winterhaven. However, as heartbreaking and disappointing as it is, we believe that change is inevitable. We believe that it should be our responsibility to work hand in hand with the Festival Committee to create what is best for our passengers, families walking in winterhaven, and most of all, the reputation of our mules.
Is this going to be fun? Well… first off… we will miss our world famous mules pulling our wagons. We have deliberated as to what would be fun… Here is our plans should this change occur…. We think open topped jeeps that play Christmas music through the festival could be a blast. We want the driver available to our passengers and that is why we want our vehicles open. Music played during the ride might encourage singing and the Holiday Spirit! We could decorate it with lights and make it beautiful. We have considered the issue of exhaust and do not want our passengers subjected to this. For this year, we would extend our exhaust pipes out away from the wagons. We have discovered that it may be possible to convert each jeep to LP gas that burns cleaner and greener! This would be a goal for 2014.
So… will you guys ride with us? We hope so. Will you guys support this effort of change towards a safer Festival of Lights? We believe so! We have faith in you! The Food Bank has faith in you! Still, the biggest question of all is will we be making the right choice? Will we be able to sleep at night?
I know I will…
But I’ll cry a little for the winds of change…. Julie...