Bishop resident Monica Allen (l) will be replacing Kim Kraft (r) as the Mule Days executive director beginning Monday. Craft resigned earlier this year to relocate to Montana to be closer to her family there. Photo courtesy Mule Days
A new leader is taking the reins of Bishopâ€™s annual Mule Days Celebration.
Longtime Executive Kim Craft officially leaves her post on Monday, turning over year-round organization and oversight of the world-famous event to Bishop resident Monica Allen.
Craft has resigned from her long-held position so that she can relocate to Wyoming. According to Public Relations Chair Barb Laughon, Craft is moving to be closer to family.
Allen was hired following three weeks of recruitment efforts and interviews, Laughon said. Sheâ€™ll step into the executive director post Sept. 10, overseeing a paid staff of two year-round employees and reporting to the Mule Days Executive Committee.
â€śWe are very pleased to welcome Monica to the Mule Days family,â€ť said Executive Committee President Dana Crom said. â€śMonica brings with her both experience and enthusiasm that will benefit every aspect of Mule Days. We hope everyone will extend her a warm welcome.â€ť
According to Laughon, Allen comes to Bishop Mule Days with more than 10 years of marketing and retail experience. Most recently she was employed at Sterling Heights Assisted Living in Bishop as the Quality Assurance Trainer where she worked with the residents, planning events and activities to make each day special.
Allenâ€™s family has lived in Bishop for a little more than 10 years. Coincidentally, their first visit to Bishop was for the 2001 Mule Days Celebration.
â€śIt was love at first visit and the family moved here a year later. Monica and her husband, James, enjoy raising their children in the Eastern Sierra,â€ť Laughon said.
Allen has been a member of Bishop Sunrise Rotary and Altrusa, and was recently elected to the Bishop Little League Board.
Established in 1969, the Bishop Mule Days Celebration is considered by many to be the nationâ€™s premier mule show. The six-day celebration spotlights that talent and diversity of mules, plus the often unsung skills of backcountry packers. The event draws mule enthusiasts from across the country and around the world.
The event is put on every Memorial Day weekend by 300-plus volunteers who come from local church, school, social and service organizations. These volunteers help staff the event, and in return, their organizations receive a portion of Mule Daysâ€™ proceeds. This money helps the groups offset their own fund-raising efforts.
Bishop Mule Days will mark its 44th year with the 2013 celebration set for May 21-26. Tickets for 2013 will go on sale Feb. 1.
For more information about Bishop Mule Days, visit MuleDays.org.