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Southern Alberta cowboy takes home Missouri Mule Makeover championship – Lethbridge

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Joel Lybbert is an experienced cowboy who is always up for a challenge.

He’s trained everything from his Texas Longhorn, Jasper, to his buffalo, Indy.

Most recently, he put his skills to the test as the first Canadian to enter the Missouri Mule Makeover. Part of the Ozark Mule Days, it’s a five-month challenge that ends in a competition to see who trained the best mule.

In the end, the trainers can choose to auction off their mules.

The Cardston local entered the main competition alongside Albertan youth competitor, Shayde Primrose.


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“The reason why I wanted to do this was that it was going to push me to be a better trainer,” said Joel, but he met his match, after his original mule was injured early in the challenge, he re-entered with Jeffery.

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“Jeffery was a mule that took so much more feel than I have ever had to give,” said Joel.

“Jeffery was an unhandled mule that had a lot of scared, a lot of unsure, a lot of self-doubt in himself as a mule and being around people,” said Les Clancy, producer of the Ozark Mule Days.

He added, not many cowboys could tame the long-eared mount in 150 days.

“It’s very credible for what they’ve done in a short amount of time with a mule that most people in the United States or any country would even mess with, let alone try to put into a competition, and he represented Canada very well,” said Clancy.


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Joel persisted, posting weekly videos of Jeffery’s transformation on social media. Even taking him on hikes to new heights.

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When it came to the show, Jeffery’s skills were on fire.

“As the wild ‘lil donkey he was to start with, I was blown away by him at the makeover,” said Joel.

Their performances were so impressive, both Joel and youth competitor, Shayde, took home the championship titles, making those the first-ever Missouri Mule Makeover wins for Canadian Trainers.

“Joel and Shayde, both of them from Canada, they traveled two and a half days down to Missouri in the United States and they literally kicked United States’ butt and took the title home,” said Clancy. “So it’s one Canada, zero United States right now in the competition of training mules in the Missouri Mule Makeover.”

Not only did Joel take the title, he chose to keep Jeffery on his team.

“I’m just going to be looking for another adventure with Jeffery at my side,” said Joel.

He will be posting a documentary of the whole process to his social media in mid-October.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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