DENVER (KDVR) — Pack burro racing is the official summer heritage sport of Colorado, and it’s happening all summer long.
People run alongside their donkeys in races that exceed marathon distances through challenging trails in the mountains.
The donkey wears a saddle, although it is against the rules for anyone to ride on it. However, according to the Western Pack Burro Association, the runner can carry the donkey.
Running with the burro while it’s packing is a tribute to the sport’s historical origins in the Wild West, when donkeys were used to pack mining materials alongside the miner.
“This is the 75th year of haulin’ ass,” Roger Pedretti, media relations officer for the WPBA,` said.
In their reputation for stubbornness, the donkeys don’t always want to run. Former WPBA president Eric Lynn said if the donkey is the slightest bit uncomfortable, it might literally stop dead in its tracks to assess the situation.
Better yet, there’s an award for that. It’s called “The Last Ass Over the Pass” and it usually goes to the last person to cross the finish line.
Anyone is welcome to watch the races, which are tracked on the Western Pack Burro Association website.
Conveniently, a lot of those races are in conjunction with the local town festivities, so there will be plenty of entertainment around for those who wish to see the donkey derby.