The Montana Mule Days is an annual celebration and the state’s largest mule and donkey show that is organized by the Montana Longears Association. Typically held in June, the festival continues for three days and features fun for the whole family.
In 2022, the festival was held from June 3-5 at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds in Hamilton, Montana. In the past, it has also been held in Whitehall, Jefferson County. Each day typically kicks off at 8 a.m. and continues until late.
There are over 100 classes held as part of the festival which is perfect for all ages and categorized into youth, junior, and adult.
The whole family can participate in the classes, which include western pleasure, trail classes, team penning, costume classes, big hitches, packing, showmanship, performance, and driving.
The classes do teach participants new skills, but they are offered in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Above all, the event is held in the first place for participants to have fun and the vibe is not overly competitive.
There’s also chariot racing, cattle events, and a gymkhana, plus several vendors selling local food and goods. When not watching events from the stands or participating in classes, guests are welcome to visit with the mule and donkey owners, who travel to the show from around the state.
Montana Mule Days has been running for more than 35 years, although it was briefly canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic. It serves as a testament to the Old West legacy which still flourishes in Montana today.
Mule Days Details
- Dates: Early June
- Address: Varies. In 2022 it was held at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds (100 Old Corvallis Rd Hamilton, MT). In previous years it was held at the Whitehall Saddle Club (1 Rodeo Lane, Whitehall, MT)
- Phone: (406) 381-3316
- Admission: $5 per day, or $10 for three days
- Website: https://montanamuledays.com
Food vendors operate at Montana Mule Days for the entire three-day duration of the festival. Restrooms and rules regarding pets tend to vary depending on where exactly the event is being held.
For example, in Hamilton, there are restrooms conveniently located in the Ravalli County Fairgrounds.
There is dry camping available at the Whitehall Saddle Club, where the event is held when it takes place in Whitehall, for $10 per night. Spots need to be reserved in advance via contact with the event organizers, either by phone or email.
There are a few camping spaces available that have access to power, which cost $15 a night. These are located within a quarter-mile of the saddle club.
When Montana Mule Days is held in Hamilton, many guests choose to stay in the small city, which is also the seat of Ravalli County.
There are several accommodation options available in Hamilton, some of them in close proximity to the fairgrounds where the event takes place. They include:
$$$ – Quality Inn Hamilton Bitterroot Valley – Hamilton
$$$ – Bitterroot River Inn and Conference Center – Hamilton
$$$ – Super 8 by Wyndham – Hamilton
In addition to the camping facilities at the fairgrounds, there are also a few campgrounds around Hamilton that guests can stay at for a fraction of the cost of other lodgings. These include:
Free – Blodgett Campground – Hamilton
$ – Black Rabbit RV Park & Storage – Hamilton
$ – Angler’s Roost RV & Campground – Hamilton
When Montana Mule Days is held in Whitehall, most guests choose to stay in and around the Jefferson County town, including in locations like Boulder, the county seat. Some of the most popular lodgings in the area include:
$ – The Ranch Bed & Breakfast – Boulder
$$ – Iron Wheel Guest Ranch – Whitehall
$$$ – Jefferson River Loft – Whitehall
The city of Butte is less than half an hour away from Whitehall by car, so some guests may want to base themselves there to attend the festival when it’s held in Whitehall.
Butte also offers numerous tourist attractions and highlights, including the World Museum of Mining and Copper King Mansion.
The most highly rated accommodation in Butte includes:
$$ – Comfort Inn by Butte City Center I-15/I-90 – Butte
$$$ – Copper King Convention Center, Ascend Hotel Collection – Butte
$$$ – Hampton Inn Butte – Butte
$$$- Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites – Butte
$$$ – Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Butte – Butte