As a heavily used work animal in Egypt in 3,000 B.C., mules are considered the most common and oldest known hybrid made by man. A mule is a crossbreed that has resulted in selective breeding by humans. To be considered a mule, the mother of the mule would be a horse and the father would be a donkey. Mules have been favorable for years in different communities and societies throughout history. Because of surefootedness and calmer nature than horses, they are preferred when it comes to riding in mountainous terrain. Even though they are known for being hard headed, it is also known that mules are exceptionally loyal to their owners.
There are many more reasons mules are preferred over their family members of horses and donkeys. Whereas horses get spooked easy, mules tend to have a much more docile nature. They are also stronger than horses and can survive in much harsher conditions than their parents, the horse and the donkey. The endurance they possess make them a much better option when it comes to riding for long distances as they don’t need to stop and rest as much as horses do. They are also smaller which makes them a more comfortable choice than a horse.
The greatness of these hybrid creatures prompted the erection of the National Mule Memorial in Muleshoe, TX. A historian and writer, V.H. Torrence began to become concerned with the fading of the mule from American society during a stockshow when he noted the absence of the animal. After reading the story about the disappearance of this creature, Dr. J.B. Barnett decided to send a contribution in conjunction with a suggestion of putting up a memorial to the fine animal, the mule, at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, TX. A columnist wrote of the to-be tribute to the admirable animal and the owner of the radio station KMUL in Muleshoe, TX, Gil Lamb and the manager of the Muleshoe Labor of Commerce, Carroll Pouncey, wrote to both the columnist and Dr. Barnett and explained why it would make better sense to erect the monument in Muleshoe.
In 1965, Dr. Barnett flew to Muleshoe where he organized the National Mule Memorial Association with more than 700 contributors. The sculpture was completed by a man named Kevin Wolf at Fiberglass Menagerie in Alpine, CA and the model for the statue was an 18 year old mule weighing 1,100 pounds named “Old Pete” who was owned by Dave Anders.
If you’re making a trip to New Mexico from Texas, be sure to stop at “Old Pete” and snap a quick selfie for your photo album. A review notes the monument as a “good spot to go ahead and stretch your legs while you’re on the ever-so-exciting road between NM & TX.” It is located near the Muleshoe Chamber of Commerce and is the first and only monument to the animal in the world. The now defunct Sante Fe Railroad donated the ground for the monument to stand on.
The Texas Attorney General at the time of dedication was Waggoner Carr. While the dedication ceremony took place, he said the following:
“Dedicated to the memory of all mules who had such an important role in the pioneering of America, and to the memory of the late Dr. J.B. Barnett, who would not let the mule be forgotten.”
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Map from National Mule Memorial to AW Broadband:
Map from National Mule Memorial to Freedom Museum USA: