Pack to Pack

Jun 10, 2024

Mule packing team in bishopA dynasty is in the making at Reedley College.

For the second straight year, the Tigers are the Interscholastic Packing Team World Champions at the annual Mule Days Celebration in Bishop. But this time, there was a little more drama than usual. Heading into the final day of competition, the Tigers found themselves in a four-way tie and needed to finish strong to get the win. 

Dominant is a better word to describe what happened next. 

Harley McCorkle, who was an alternate last year, helped lead the way this year with her packing and planning skills. “Saturday night, we looked at the board and realized the situation we were in,” Harley said.  “Sunday rolls around and we thought we could full throttle it, do the best we can, and see what happens. We were confident enough that we could score enough to be reserve champion, at least. So, I scanned the area before we went and planned it out. We shot for the middle so we had more room and flexibility and it was all muscle memory after that. I grabbed my items, built my box and tied it off, then I hoisted Laurel (Machoian) up on Jasper’s saddle and they took off.” 

The Tigers time of approximately 1 minute 15 seconds was about 15 seconds faster than anyone else, giving them the title once again over teams from Fresno State, Cal Poly, UC Davis, and Modesto Junior College. “We had a clean run. No mistakes, no time penalties. It was amazing,” McCorkle said. Machoian was also an alternate on last year’s team, giving the Tigers a new dynamic duo.

“What was super cool was that they came together as a team and peaked,” said Head Coach Loni Langdon. “They performed in such a way that they put on a clinic.”

“There were a lot of emotions,” Harley said. “Mostly pride and joy. We had to do two animal switch-ups and it all clicked and worked out. All the practicing was worthwhile, fun and enjoyable, and that’s where the joy came from. The team worked really well together.” 

The Tigers took home the coveted buckle trophies following the competition, and were given plaques at the annual packers dinner Sunday (June 9). What makes all of this even more unique is how Reedley College continues to help develop students for job opportunities on some of the most beautiful lands on earth through the team and its mule packing course. “Packers and livestock who can help keep our trails open for recreation to people who visit from around the world is an essential service. It’s a dying art,” said Langdon, who also teaches the Mule Packing class. “It makes what we’re doing at Reedley College extremely important. We put together a very professional and realistic representation of what we have to offer at Reedley College through our Forestry and Natural Resources Departments.”

At the celebration dinner, talk of a threepeat was already being discussed. “We’re ready for a threepeat,” said Langdon. “Our returners are bound and determined to come back next year and do just that.”

Stubborn as a mule – in the best way possible.


PACK TEAM: Ethan Greves, Harley McCorkle, Laurel Machoian, Cade Topping

ALTERNATES: Matthew Fabela, Isabel Ricardo-Garcia

EQUINES: Eeyore (37 years old), Jasper (27 years old), Lisa (26 years old), Goldilocks (6 years old)


BOX HITCH: Cade Topping


PARADE: First Place

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