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Latino Daily News

Friday August 5, 2011

Pack-Burro Racing Looking to Become Official Sport of Colorado

Pack-Burro Racing Looking to Become Official Sport of Colorado

Photo: Pack-burros and their human running mates race to the finish line

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Participants of a sport many have never heard of are pushing to have it become the official sport of Colorado.

The Western Pack Burro Racing Association is asking Colorado legislators to recognize pack-burro racing as the state’s official sport, as they believe it is the only sport indigenous to Colorado.

Legend has it that during the gold rush of the 19th century, after striking gold, prospectors would quickly load up their burros and quickly head in to town to register their claim before any rivals arrived. This is said to have been the start of pack-burro racing teams.

Since 1949, the Rocky Mountain mining town of Leadville has held an annual burro race to commemorate the gold rush tradition. Since then, a number of other communities have followed in the tradition.

The race actually does not allow the person to ride their burro, hence the “pack-burro” part. In following the tradition of the miners who used to donkey friends to carry their tools and supplies, today’s racers must pull, push or, in some stubborn-burro cases, drag the animals through the race.

According to the WPBA website, “The burro-racing season runs from late May through September. There are presently five events in five mountain towns. Each event is part of a festival celebrating the town’s history.”

Though the sport may sound silly to some (the WPBA motto is “Celebrating 62 years of Hauling Ass”), it takes real athletes to compete in these races, both human and donkey alike.