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Man and beast ready to race.Pack burro racing
Pack burro racing is the only sport indigenous to the US State of Colorado. It has its roots in that state's mining heritage. In the early days of the mining industry in Colorado, miners would take burros, which is the Spanish word for donkey, through the mountains of Colorado in their search for gold. Because the burros were carrying supplies, the miners could not ride the animals and so they would walk, leading the donkey. The Burro races, which are held throughout small towns in Colorado, commemorate these men and their burros.

In a typical burro race, a runner and a burro race complete a prescribed course together, with the runner leading the burro on a rope. Riding of the burro is not alowed. In fact, the human may carry the burro, but the burro may not carry the human. The burro must be on a lead rope, which is limited to 15 feet. Runners must maintain control of their animals at all times.Out of the starting gate. Burros must also carry a pack saddle with 33 pounds (14.968 kilograms) of traditional mining gear, which must include a pick, a gold pan, and a shovel. Runners may also include other gear in their pack saddles, such as windbreakers, water, food, etc., but the surplus gear cannot be counted in the 33 lbs. Cruelty to the burro is prohibited and racing officials have the right to hold any burro for 30 minutes following the race for an inspection by a veterinarian.

There are two legends concerning the beginning of these burro races. The first states that the races began when two miners found gold and had to race back to the claims office. Because they could not ride the burros (the burros were either too small or too loaded down with supplies,) the miners were forced to run, leading the burros. The second legend is somewhat vague but concerns a few drunken miners at a bar in Leadville, Colorado.

Heading for the hills.Competition
Like Horse Racing, Burro Racing has its own "Triple Crown", consisting of races in Fairplay, Colorado, Leadville, and Buena Vista, Colorado. The Fairplay, Colorado race is 29 miles and counts as an ultra-marathon.

For more information please visit: Western Pack Burro Ass-ociation

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  For more information contact:
Laughing Valley Ranch
P.O. Box 1810 • Idaho Springs, Colorado 80452