CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (KDVR) — Donkey Derby Days is an annual tradition in Cripple Creek, with 91 years of honoring the loyal animal that helped miners labor through the gold rush.

It’s been an economic driver for local business, with visitors hitting the mountain town each summer. Donkey Derby Days brings a number of festivities, all in celebration of Cripple Creek’s resident donkey herd.

“Their role in Cripple Creek’s great gold rush was as important as the railroads, the merchants, and even the miners themselves,” according to the Two Mile High Club. That’s the group that cares for the donkeys of Cripple Creek, which are believed to be descendants of the original donkeys from gold rush times.

Sponsors needed for 92nd Annual Donkey Derby Days

Last week, FOX31 reported that Donkey Derby Days found itself in a precarious position this year, when Cripple Creek pulled its funding. The city said the pandemic took a bite out of gambling revenue, and it won’t be able to support the event this year.

Organizers, however, now say the event will go on.

“As a volunteer committee, we came together in December to say, ‘We can do this!’ And guess what? We are doing it,” said Annie Valades, co-chair of this year’s Donkey Derby Days committee.

Valades said the group is gathering sponsorships and raising money from supporters across the country.

They are also looking for business sponsorships, Valades told FOX21 in Colorado Springs. The public can also help support the event through donations and T-shirt sales through the Two Mile High Club.

“We have a donation button on our website so you can donate directly for Donkey Derby Days or you can make a donation to the Two Mile High Club for the general care of the donkeys,” Curt Sorenson, president of the Two Mile High Club, told FOX21.