Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Discusses Mule Day in Columbia, Tennessee and Its Origins

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Discusses Mule Day in Columbia, Tennessee and Its Origins


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to discuss the tradition of Mules Day and it’s history in Columbia, Tennessee.

Leahy: In studio with us our good friend Mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles. You know, Andy, we were talking off the break we’re probably going to be adding a live video streaming portion to the program. And you come in here at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. You’re dressed very professionally. You look like you could argue a case before the Supreme Court right now. (Ogles chuckles) Me, I’m bleary-eyed and need a shave. I’m a wreck. When we have the live streaming people will be able to see that contrast. It will probably get you re-elected Maury County Mayor.

Ogles: This is one of those days. I’ve got a crazy day. So obviously my morning starts here and I’ve got to turn around and drive back to Maury County because we have an organizational meeting for Mule Day. As soon as that’s over I’ve got to hop in the car drive up to the legislature because I have been asked to testify.

Leahy: Oh really?

Ogles: Do that. Then turn around go back to Maury County for meetings. And then I have to go to Franklin. And I’m speaking this evening to several conservative groups. And so it’s the bouncing around all over the Middle Tennessee area. And there’s just no downtime. It’s like I had to hit the ground and be ready to roll.

Leahy: You’re going to sleep soundly tonight.

Ogles: Absolutely.

Leahy: I’ll get back to the issue of your testimony before the state legislature in a bit. I want to go back to Mule Days. Now in terms of a community event I just think Mule Days is such a great concept because who wouldn’t want to go to a Mule Days event because it’s celebrating mules. It’s agricultural but I guess there are other places in the country that celebrate mules and that have Mule Days. But to my mind, the premier Mule Day event is in Colombia. Tell us the history of it. How did this come about?

Ogles: One, we have to acknowledge the fact that some of your listeners some of our friends from New York or California have no idea what we’re talking about. (Leahy laughs) So we’ll probably just start there.

Leahy: For the new people who have come into Tennessee from California, and there are a lot of them…

Ogles: There is a lot.

Leahy: Let’s do a little Tennessee historical translation about Mule Days.

Ogles: You have horses you have donkeys you have mules. But the Mule Day celebrations that take place all over the country really it’s a throwback to your agrarian society and your livestock auctions that would take place literally on your town square. And so in Maury County, Columbia was the mule capital of the world. So during the first world war hundreds of thousands of mules were used during the war effort.

Leahy: During World War I.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: To transport goods and services. Mules being a great pack animal.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: And known for their strength persistence and stubbornness.

Ogles: And stubbornness. That’s right. (Leahy chuckles) And so Maury County as being the mule capital of the world our livestock auction kicked off those sales across the country. So everybody would come to ours and then each week thereafter there would be these auctions for various parts of the country. And so there’s this tradition to have it in late March-early April, you’ll have Mule Day.

Leahy: Which started off the farming season shall we say. Let me just step back even further. How is it that Columbia, Tennessee became the mule capital of America? How did that happen?

Ogles: How that exactly happened, I have no idea other than the fact that we just had a lot of mules.

Leahy: Had a lot of mules around.

Ogles: We had an entrepreneur that began the marketplace and just kind of the rest is history. So we’ve continued to honor that tradition. It brings in a lot of revenue and a lot of tourism to Maury County.

Leahy: Now let’s just stop for a moment. To a modern Californian or a modern New Yorker just coming to Tennessee, they would say mule days?

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Why would Mule Days bring in revenue? If you look at it from 2021 you’d say okay. But if you look at it from the historical context of the period of 1900 or so, you can see exactly why when we were very much an agricultural country.

Ogles: Going back in time because of the auctions of the sales and the economy that is generated. In modern times you have the people and they come into town, they stay at the hotels, they eat at the restaurants, they buy souvenirs etc. But you really have two types of activities that take place during your traditional Mule Day. You’ll have the parade and the things that take place in downtown Columbia and then out at the Agriculture Park, you’ll have the again agricultural stuff that takes place.

Leahy: Just for those of our listeners, here’s an overview from the visit Columbia, Tennessee website. Mule Day is an annual celebration of all things related to mules held in Columbia, Tennessee the mule capital of the world. It began in 1840 as a Breeders Day a meeting for mule breeders and now attracts over 100,000 people taking place over four days. There you go. The old days way back. So it’s rooted in the agricultural economy here, which makes an awful lot of sense to me.

Ogles: Again going back to 1840 and so when they decided to cancel it I’ve been fairly stubborn through this process.

Leahy: Now, there’s a line I could use Andy. But I’m not going to use it. (Laughs)

Ogles: No, I’ve just refused to do the mask mandate. We have this thing called the Constitution and I support it and I protect your right to wear a mask and I protect your right not to because you can social distance and you can do other things to protect yourself and others. And the same thing here with our activities, when all the other counties and states were canceling their fairs back in last this past summer I refused to cancel ours because  I was convinced there was a way to do it and do it safely.

And we did and it was successful. It was the largest fair we’ve ever had and we’re going to do it again this year. And so the same thing here with Mule Day. I refuse to let this tradition die. I’m not going to let it be canceled two years in a row. Now, we’ll call it something else so that we understand the sensitivities of the event that takes place in March and April. But come May we’re going to have a celebration. We’re going to celebrate our heritage. We’re going to have a concert. And if I have my way we’ll have fireworks and we are going to have a parade. We’re going to have a good time.

Leahy: So come on down. I’m coming to it and the fireworks, I love Fireworks. Is there any kind of COVID constraint on fireworks? I didn’t know about it, but maybe there is well.

Ogles: I’m sure if you are Nancy Pelosi sure, that’s a condition of the constraint of anything that has to do with freedom. No, not at all. Especially not Maury County.

Leahy: Well that makes an awful lot of sense to me. So instead of March-April in the more traditional Mule Day event, there will be a Memorial Day event in Columbia and it will combine a very well-known musical performer.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Can I get you to say. You won’t say it yet.

Ogles: Once I have their press release and it’s approved, it’s going to be fun. It’s Memorial Day weekend. It’s a time to celebrate our heritage. It’s also time to remember those who have fallen serving our country, Memorial Day. Which again is why I want to layer in some fireworks. There’s a budget involved and I’ve got to get sponsors and raise those funds and etc.

Historically we’ve had a lot of festivals in Maury County that over time they just kind of have fallen by the wayside. And so this creates the opportunity to okay next year we’re going to have our traditional Mule Day at the end of March first of April. But next year we’re going to have our May celebration and we’ll do something in June.

Leahy: Where will this concert be?

Ogles: Downtown Columbia.

Leahy: Right downtown on the square?

Ogles: It’s just one block off the square. We have a giant parking lot so we can get a big crowd there.

Leahy: I will say this, the square in Colombia is really quite a nice place to visit.

Ogles: Obviously I’m biased because I’m the mayor there. There are two or three squares in this state and really in the South that are arguably the most beautiful and ours is one of them.

Leahy: I’m not going to disagree. I’m not going to disagree.

Ogles: I’m a very pragmatic practical person. If I say look, it’s the third prettiest because we are in the top three. And of course, I’m biased and I’d say we are the prettiest. Especially if you look in the contrast of what we have going on, it’s booming.

Listen to the full second hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Columbia, Tennessee” by jdj150. CC BY 2.0.












A Mayor for All Citizens: Maury County’s Andy Ogles Talks About His Bi-Partisan Role and Abuses of Emergency Powers

A Mayor for All Citizens: Maury County’s Andy Ogles Talks About His Bi-Partisan Role and Abuses of Emergency Powers


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to talk about what’s important about being a mayor and the testimony he will provide in the General Assembly regarding the exercising of emergency powers during COVID.

Leahy: In studio with Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. Andy,  I’m telling you when we have the live stream video camera where everybody can see what’s happens off-air. What happens off-air is a little bit more fun. Well we have fun all the time.

Ogles: We have conversations with jokes, we laugh. Of course, when you come and came in at the break, we were literally cutting up 30 seconds ago. but that’s what that’s part of the fun. Of course, you’ll have to shave.

Leahy: I know. This is why it takes a skilled to run for public office and part of the skill is you have to like get up and you know fix yourself up and look good every day. I’m way past that. (Laughs) I just can’t do it every day, but when we get the video stream we’ll have to do that.

Ogles: I’ll take issue with that. I don’t know that running for public office takes skill. I think you just have to have… a problem. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: It’s not a problem. You have to have a commitment to a set of ideas. And you have to be persistent. I think. What would be really hard for me is as it’s just you and me talking right? You know when you’re in public office and this is one of the reasons because there was a period of time when I was a kid, I was certain I would be president of the United States. I was certain then as I became an adult and I saw what you have to do to be elected and then when you’re elected here’s the problem.

And you’re very good at this, but I would not be good at this at all. You have a duty to every single resident of Maury County. Every single resident of Maury County can come up and asked you something and you have a duty to respond to that right? You have to be a very patient and kind person to do that. And I’m not that patient. And I’m sometimes not that kind unfortunately.

Ogles: And I think that’s a good point. Obviously, in Maury County the county mayor it’s a partisan position to run as a Republican. Known across the state as a very conservative Republican. But like you say, I have 100,000 people that live in Maury County. I’m the county mayor for all of those people. For all of them.

Leahy: And even if there’s somebody in Maury County who absolutely is let’s say even if far lefty or just somebody that just doesn’t like you right you still have a duty to that person.

Ogles: But you know when you’re making decisions I’m looking at what’s in the best interest of the whole. And sometimes whether it’s the radical left or perhaps at times they even the radical right they can be the loudest voices although they’re the minority of the voices. It’s a small fragment of the 100,000

Leahy: But they’re enthusiastic and vocal.

Ogles: That’s right. And you see elected officials cave to this very loud voice that represents a very small portion of society. And you see that happen at the local level at the county and then all the way up to national politics. Look at the Democratic Party and how it’s been hijacked by a very vocal left that doesn’t represent most of America.

Leahy: I was on a call with somebody very well known and they said let’s face it. The Democratic party is run by an insane 10 percent of the population. And my words, not yours. But yes, they’re loud and they’re insane and because they’re loud and repetitive now we have a lot of insane things happening as part of public policy. Now, you mentioned something interesting that you actually are going to be testifying before the Committee of Tennessee General Assembly later today. What will you be testifying about?

Ogles: Throughout COVID there have been emergency powers exercised. Some would argue myself included that emergency powers have been abused. And as part of that, you’ve had emergency powers that have been delegated down to mayors and municipalities.

Leahy: So let me just stop. You when you say that the governor has delegated emergency powers down to mayors of counties.

Ogles: That’s correct.

Leahy: Is there a legal authority for that delegation?

Ogles: There is yes, and no. It depends on the timing and words matter. We’ve talked about this before on the show. State law, the TCA code, Tennessee code annotated.

Leahy: Whenever you see something like TCA with the little squiggles and then the numbers that’s the actual law of Tennessee. Tennessee code annotated means every law that’s passed then is put into a structure and given a number and a title and that’s how you know what the law is today. It’s updated every year.

Ogles: That’s right. The law, the TCA code is a contract between your government and the people of Tennessee. And so words matter. There’s a whole section of the legal profession that is based around contract law. And so you have in state law a phrasing that specifies when during an emergency the governor can delegate powers.

And it has to be prior to or threat of an emergency. And again, I know that’s kind of nuanced but it’s significant. And the reason is is that only the general assembly can give me my authority, not the governor. And so what we’ve had is during COVID and in the name of COVID to save the world, we violated state law and nobody’s done anything about it and I’m quite upset about it.

Leahy: And you should be because it gets back to this. What is the nature of the contract between citizens and the government? It is the rule of law.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: And so when the rule of law is violated by those charged with the implementation of the rule of law that undercuts the very core of our social organization.

Ogles: And I would say that they’re the guardians of set law. And so at any point in time and you look at history that when the contract with the people the subjects you want to hire subjects of the government t becomes one-sided are the guardians who are there to enforce and protect the law to make sure that the laws are applied evenly and inappropriately suddenly can change those at will and abuse them at will you no longer have a contract right?

We’ve slipped into this totalitarian type of mentality in the name of COVID and during of all the laws of all the times your emergency powers law should be carefully constructed and reviewed. If you’ve ever been in the military or in law enforcement after you have an engagement. There’s an after-action report to look at how you engaged.

What could you have done better? What were your missed opportunities? And what’s not happening yet is what has happened during COVID-19 have happened, what should not have happened, and that’s part of why I’m going to be at the legislature. There some things that have happened during COVID that should not have happened. And we’ve got to fix it.

Leahy: I agree entirely with that. Have you testified before the Tennessee General Assembly ever before?

Ogles: I have, yes.

Leahy: What is that like? How does that happen? How much time do you have? Are people nice to you? Are they mean to you? Do they yell and scream at you? Or do they listen politely?

Ogles: You could always have a committee hearing that goes sideways, but that would be the exception, not the rule. It’s very orderly and typically they’re asking questions. You may have someone who’s passionate about an issue but this is pretty straightforward. You’re talking about the legal construct. The words are in black and white. It’s really not up to debate. And I think what you have is you have some folks whether being the general assembly or maybe perhaps advising the governor that just isn’t familiar with the law and exactly how it’s written, whereas I am.

Leahy: So when you go up there, they have separate committee rooms right?

Ogles: Yes.

Leahy: And typically you wait a period of time right before the chairman calls you in?

Ogles: Yeah, so you’ll have the state representative or state senator that’s the sponsor of the bill and the sponsor will get up and give a presentation to the chairman.

Leahy: Typically when a bill is introduced it has a sponsor and then it is assigned to a committee. And it’s a committee that decides whether to move it out or kill it.

Ogles: It has a life cycle if you will. It goes from subcommittee to full committee. From there it will be calendars or calendar and rule then it would go to the floor etc. But during that process of evaluating the details of the legislation sometimes you’ll have sponsors of a bill that will bring experts or just key witnesses in. Almost like a courtroom to give testimony to the validity or invalidity of a piece of legislation.

Leahy: And as a county mayor you would be an expert on the emergency powers.

Ogles: And how it was applied.

Leahy: And how it was applied.

Ogles: That’s right.

Listen to the full second hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Andy Ogles” by Andy Ogles. Background Photo “Tennessee Capitol” by Peggy Anderson. CC BY-SA 4.0.







Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary Weighs in on Current Legislation and the Senate’s Passing of the Transgender Sports Bill

Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary Weighs in on Current Legislation and the Senate’s Passing of the Transgender Sports Bill


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed (R) TN State Representative Jason Zachary to the newsmakers line to talk about current bills in the General Assembly and the passing of the transgender sports bill.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line right now by our good friend State Representative Jason Zachary who’s going to give us a little bit of an update about what’s going on as the Tennessee General Assembly continues and begins to wind down I think. Welcome, Representative Zachary.

Zachary: Good morning. How are you guys?

Leahy: We are great. Of course in studio Roger Simon from The Epoch Times and Andy Ogles the mayor of Maury County. So Jason, what are the big bill’s there that you expect to be passed in the next week or so in the House of Representatives?

Zachary: Sure. Thanks for having me on and mayor, good to know that you’re on. It has been a while since I’ve talked to you. Guys, the great news last night from the Senate is that the Transgender Sports Bill passed. And so that’s a big step. It’s going to be on the House floor probably next Monday. And so that’s a big move forward. I’ve got a piece of legislation to protect our children and to protect our little girls who are in restrooms and locker rooms.

I’ve got that legislation. We’ve got constitutional carry coming down the pike. I’ve got my bill Wednesday to move the health boards to advisory roles in four of our six large counties. The health boards are basically ruling as an oligarchy as a fourth branch of government. I’ve got a bill to address that. And we’ve taken big steps regarding education.

The mayor, I’m sure is very interested in our broadband initiative and expansion that we’re looking that I’m involved in because it’s what I do for a living. So really good thing going on. Revenue for our state, we are one of seven states that have grown economically since March of last year. And that’s because conservative principles work. We’re not perfect. We can always do better and always take big steps forward, but we’re in a really good place in Tennessee and I think we’ve got some really good initiatives this year that we’ll be able to pass over the next couple of months to really further our conservative principles.

Leahy: Walk us through the path of this transgender bill that would be continuing to allow girls to compete only in girls’ sports. A common-sense bill and we won’t have transgender men, women, and men competing in women’s sports. It passed in the Senate very handily. Now, what is the path in the House of Representatives of that bill or a companion-related bill?

Zachary: Sure. It passed sub last week. I believe it’s in full, I believe that today. I’m not on education, but I think that’s today. It’s being carried by Representative Cepicky who is the mayor’s representative. He’s done an awesome job championing this and he was my seatmate last year. So I know him and this bill really well. When it passes, I believe it’s today.

It’ll pass today come to my committee, which I chair on Thursday, which is calendar and rules and we’ll get that scheduled for Monday. So by Monday of next week, this transgender sports bill protecting the integrity of girls high school middle school sports in our state should be passed Monday by the House overwhelmingly and then the governor will sign that right away. And that will be a big win in a big step forward for our state.

Leahy: Now that bill, will you pass exactly the same bill as the Senate, or will there have to have to be some back and forth on it?

Zachary: And that’s a good question. I have not seen the Senate version. We have so many bills coming through that were responsible for over here. I have not seen that version. I actually texted Rep. Cepicky this morning asking some questions about it. So I don’t know if we’re going to substitute or conform to theirs or move forward with ours. I’m not sure how that will work. We’re going to get it passed and there may be some tweaks that need to be made. But it’s going to pass the House next week.

Leahy: So the governor will sign it into law. Let me ask you this. Will the lawsuits begin from the left?

Zachary: As they typically do. Unfortunately, that’s the pattern we’re in of which we could do a whole show on the judiciary and the judiciary overreach. And there’s a reason our founders listed that as the third branch of government mentioned in the Constitution because it was meant to be the weakest. And we the people have allowed it to become more powerful the most powerful.

So there’s no doubt that there will be legal challenges. But we’re prepared for that. And I think that bill was written in a way knowing there would be legal challenges and there was some meeting of the minds and support from the Alliance Defending Freedom out of Washington for this piece of legislation. So it’s written in a way and should be able to withstand any lawsuits that come our way.

Ogles: Yeah, Jason by the way, this is a real ghost. Thank you for all that you’ve done. This is an important bill. The ACLU has already announced that they plan on suing the state once this passes. So yeah buckle up buttercup because here they come. Again, it’s important for states like Tennessee, and like other conservative states to lead on these issues and really provide and interject some common sense into this culture that we’re in now, where Dr. Seuss can no longer be read to children.

Zachary: It’s absurd guys. Mayor, you are right. It’s absurd that we’re having to legislate common sense again. I have a bill coming up that I’ll probably put on notice next week that again protects the integrity of our dadgum restrooms and locker rooms for our little girls. I mean that’s basically what this bill does. The fact that we’re having to do this and spend the time legislating common sense is mind-blowing, but this is where we are.

And we as a conservative state of Tennessee we need to plant our flag in the ground say we’re not moving from this. Period. Truth is truth. The most basic truth is that God created us, man and woman. And we don’t move from that. We don’t shy away from that. We boldly do what we need to do to firewall and protect Tennessee from the lunacy that we see coming from Washington and other areas of our country. We’re not doing that crap here.

Simon: Not just Tennessee, I think America’s going to thank you for passing this. This is a case where the left overreach is almost laughable. I mean not really laughable, disgusting maybe. I think that most Democrats probably are rolling their eyes at this and keeping their mouths shut to be good boys. But I think people are going to thank you for it.

Zachary: And to your point, it’s interesting, without divulging names I have talked to members of the other side of the aisle who are friends of mine that are Democrats who have said dude, I’m not saying anything. I’m just going to quietly vote. I may not even be in the room, but you won’t hear me say a word in opposition to this. Because again guys, it’s common sense.

And we all have daughters, nieces and, moms. We all have women in our lives that we love and we know we know exactly what’s going to happen. Whether it’s an elementary school robbing our little girls of their innocence when boys are going in the bathroom. We know exactly how it’s going to go down in high school.

I’ve got a high school in the district next to mine, Bearden High School, one of the largest high schools in Knox County already having a problem. Two weeks ago I had a parent reach out to me that has a high school daughter because they are having problems with boys coming into the girls’ restrooms.

Leahy: What a shock that is. That’s what is going on. State Rep. Jason Zachary, thanks so much for joining us and giving us an update. We really appreciate it.

Zachary: Absolutely guys. Thanks for having me on.

Listen to the full third hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio