No more mules in Winterhaven - WNEM TV 5

No more mules in Winterhaven

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Narrow streets and thick crowds have pushed Winterhaven to only allow motorized vehicles to pull wagon rides of people through the Festival of Lights.  No more livestock will be used.

"We want to make sure we avoid the problem. We don't want to react to a problem. And when someone comes to us, especially one of the horse runners comes to us with a recommendation saying, 'okay this is for safety,' we kind of have to take that into consideration," said festival chairman Robin Dolezal.

Mules have been used for decades to pull wagons of people during festival of lights

But after last year, one operator Red Wycoff said that the crowds were too thick to use livestock that can spook and hurt people.  A competitor Mark White says the move puts his livestock and gear to waste.  But Winterhaven is listening to Wycoff's concern and only allowing motorized rides.

"The time has come because I'd rather do this interview about changing than an accident or even worse," Wycoff said.

"It's a real problem for me because I got $50-60,000 invested in teams and harness and now I gotta find another job for them or sell them," White said.

Winterhaven has heard feedback on both sides of the issue but expects a big turnout to benefit the Community Food Bank.

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