Little Donkey With A Big Future

Set ’Em Up Joe is a winner

He may be just a babe, but he’s already a winner. Set ’Em Up Joe, an 18-month-old white- and black-spotted miniature donkey, and his owner, Kathy Joyner of Coats, have been racking up the ribbons in the last month.

Lil’ Joe, as Mrs. Joyner and her husband, Andy, call him, was a three-time winner at the 2018 N.C. State Fair receiving first place in the Miniature Donkey Halter class and Most Colorful Mule/Donkey class. He also was named Reserve Champion Donkey.

Mrs. Joyner also showed Lil’ Joe at the Cabarrus County Fair in Concord and the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair in Dudley. He was named Reserve Champion Donkey at both events.

That’s a lot of ribbons for the equine, especially since the Joyners have only had Lil’ Joe for a little over a month.

Kathy Joyner of Coats points out some of the markings on Set ’Em Up Joe, also known as Lil’ Joe. The 18-month-old miniature donkey has markings that look like ‘Mickey Mouse ears and a heart.’

Lil’ Joe is a North Carolina transplant coming here from Spokane, Mo. Mrs. Joyner purchased Lil’ Joe from Brian and Paula Selgelid of Donkey Ridge Farms in Spokane.

“I found him on Facebook,” Mrs. Joyner said. “I contacted Mr. Brian and told him I was looking for a show donkey and asked if he had something to fit my program.”

The Selgelids, who breed donkeys, have 38 of the animals at their farm, but decided not to use Set ’Em Up Joe for breeding. Once a jack, Lil’ Joe is now a gelding (also called a john) after being castrated. A female donkey is called a jenny or jennet.

Although reluctant to let Joe go, the Selgelids agreed to sell to the Joyners. “They checked me out,” Mrs. Joyner said. “These donkeys are like their kids. They are loved and handled every day.”

Mrs. Joyner hired a hauler from outside Charlotte to transport the animal from Spokane to Coats. The trip took five days.

Lil’ Joe has very distinct markings, including some spots that Mrs. Joyner says look like “Mickey Mouse ears and a heart.” His coloring is unusual for this area, but is common in Missouri.

“There are not many with his markings and coloring,” said Mrs. Joyner. “They are very rare in this area. That’s what caught my eye.”

The donkey who has stolen his owner’s heart has quite the personality. He has joined a stable of two horses, four mules and a couple of dogs on the Joyner farm. He has become buddies with one of the Joyners’ dogs, Lucille, and the two run around playing and chasing one another. The donkey also enjoys playing with his toys and wallowing on the ground.

Set ’Em Up Joe, also called Lil’ Joe, shows his playful personality. The 18-month-old miniature donkey enjoys playing with his toys and also with his new BFF, a dog named Lucille.

Mrs. Joyner said there’s no sleeping late at their house — Lil’ Joe’s loud bellows has them up bright and early.

“At 5:30 in the morning he lets me know it’s time to eat,” she said.

Mrs. Joyner originally planned to show Lil’ Joe at Mule Days in September, but those plans changed due to Hurricane Florence. After this weekend, things will slow down for the donkey and his handler as the competition season slows down until the spring.

“Ive’ got high hopes for the little fellow,” Mrs. Joyner said. “He’s just a babe.”

-The Daily Record