Burro racing, you've got to admit that it is pretty badass and that you've thought about trying it. A burro race should be on every Colorado runner's bucket list. Burro racing is Colorado's sport. With two races coming up in July, including the World Championships, start making plans to run alongside a burro!
The first race of the year was an 8-miler in Georgetown on May 28. 18 runners and burros finished, led by John Vincent & Crazy Horse, finishing ahead of well-known burro veteran Hal Walter & Cash. The race paid money six-deep.
July 24 in Idaho Springs there will be a 4-6 mile race that is great for beginners. The grand daddy of them all then is July 31 in Fairplay - the World Championship Pack Burro Race. The championship race is a 29-mile grueling run over rough terrain up to the 13,000 foot summit of Mosquito Pass, starting and finishing in Fairplay. The Fairplay race is also part of the town's huge "Burro Days" festival.
Prize money for the championship race runs eight-deep, in both the 29-mile long course and the 15-mile short course. $1,000 for the win in the long course, $500 for the win in the short course. Last year Bobby Lewis was named World Champion. Racing alongside Wellstone, he finished in 5:56:23. How dramatic can a burro racing finish be? Second place was one second behind Lewis, and third place a mere two seconds behind.
How to Try the Sport
Spending time with these animals is #1. With the race dates this close, all training is done on the ranches - the burro's home. It is recommended that you have at least two training runs with a donkey. Brad Wann, World Pack Burro Ass-ociation media relations directions, is willing to spend time with anyone that is eager to learn the tricks of the trade. Contact him at wpbamediarelations AT yahoo DOT com if you're interested in training, donkeys are ready to run all over the state.
How Successful Can a Rookie Be?
Last year a new runner, Jeff Bennett from Texas, came in and did the training needed. He placed 2nd in the Leadville "Boom Days" race, bringing home $770 with Jack the donkey - the same one that Brad ran with in the 2011 Strides for Epilepsy in Denver's City Park. Burro owners all over Colorado that would love to have good runners team up with their donkeys. Contact Brad at wpbamediarelations AT yahoo DOT com and he will connect you to the closest donkey to you.
To prepare for the World Championships, two training runs and walks are scheduled on July 9 and July 16 in Idaho Springs. An RSVP to Brad is requested. For more info, see John Page's site on his training.
There is a ton of information available on the World Pack Burro Ass-ociation site.
If you need any more encouragement to try burro racing, check out the trailer for the Haulin' Ass documentary.