Big Turnout For The 29th Annual Pea Ridge Mule Jump

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PEA RIDGE (KFSM) -- Nearly 1,000 people gathered in Pea Ridge for the 29th annual Mule Jump.  The long-standing tradition has caught the attention of two young riders from Missouri.

Amanda and Calvin Cope travel to mule competitions all over the country to feed their kids enthusiasm.

"They've been riding since they were like a year old.  [And now] She's 3 and he's 7,"  said mom Amanda.

Three Pea Ridge natives and mule jump pioneers all agree that -- no matter what -- if a mule doesn't want to jump he just won't.

"If you're fighting them to go over, they're done, and they'll let you know.  So it's useless to keep dragging them and trying to make them go over,"  said Ronnie Smith who's competed every year.

While some see it as a competition, one mother-daughter duo says it's more like a family reunion.

"Some people eat pies we go to Mule shows," said mom Becki Sams. Her daughter and third generation mule jumper Maranda Stites beat her and her father in Saturday's (Oct. 14) competition.

"We cheer for each other ... it's a whole family thing," said Stites, "no matter wins or loses for this family ... it's all about having fun."