I’m hoping that this shelter in place will all be over soon… and when it is over, all of us should do this! Pack Burro Races! Let’s all let off some housebound steam!
First off, everyone who can house and care for a donkey, should have a donkey, or two. They are amazing beings. Once you get your donkey(s), you may find that one or both of them lives to hang with you and do fun stuff.
This would be fun stuff.
How fun would this be??!!
Norma, watchout! Mamma’s gonna put you to work!
(FYI: Only the start line and finish line are on pavement… the rest is natural landscape.)
FROM A VET
PACK BURRO RACE ASSOCIATION
So, I was flipping through Facebook as I always do – looking for interesting photos – and I came upon the photo pictured above.
It stopped me in my tracks.
What were these people doing?!
I couldn’t figure out if the donkeys were runaways or if the exhausted-looking humans were trying to keep up with their athletic burros?
Obviously, by the look on the humans’ faces, this was serious business. (The donkeys, however, look like they are having a great time!)
Pack Donkey Racing is very serious – for some. But, really, it is just a lotta fun and a way for people to get out and do something with their burros.
I Googled ‘pack burro racing’ and found the Western Pack Burro Racing Association website which made me smile. (I also found a FB page linked here.)
WESTERN PACK BURRO WEBSITE
You can go to the Association site and find all the information you need as well as how to ‘outfit’ your donkey – Southern Missouri Mule Outfitter (lovingly referred to as ‘SoMoMule’) – and even a place to purchase a burro if you don’t already have one. The donkeys offered here however, are very serious contenders (wink).
I loved several aspects of this site. The best quality to me is that the site is quite informative but also doesn’t take itself too seriously.
I also admired that they push rescuing a BLM burro. Nice.
And, the photos make me wanna throw Norma in the trailer and ‘haul ass’ as they call it, to Colorado!
To top it off for me, the subtle touch of adding photos of mini donks in there was genius. Really. Minis take away the last excuse not to do it.
It all started in Colorado. (Can you believe this has been going on for 62 years and we never knew?!)
The problem is that Colorado is as far as the sport has reached. The border of Colorado. That’s it. So, if you want to do this, you either have to go there, or you have to create a satellite branch in your neighborhood. (I dare ya.)
Anyway, what tickled my fancy was that some of these photos were taken in Leadville, Colorado. Now, I know nothing about Leadville except that is the place that Debbie Reynold’s character (Molly Brown) in the ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown’ movie was headed towards when she met Howard Keel (Johnny Brown).
The real town of Leadville looks to be doing well. It hosts this fine event annually. The other Colorado towns that participate are: Fairplay, Idaho Springs, Buena Vista and Georgetown. Colorado has even created a petition to make this their State Sport. (You can sign it here.)
OK, so how can just about anyone participate?
If you look at the photos, just about anyone with a burro is in the lineup. I’m getting the impression that this is mostly just good times except for those few die-hards that always top the leaderboard.
Anyway, it seems like kids, grandpappys, entire families and just about any size donkey can play. There are no real restrictions but there are rules.
Here are the rules:
DONKEY RACING 101
I know that all of you probably wonder how you can get your donkey ready for the race.
Well, after reading through the official website, I think you need to think more about readying yourself than the donkey… if you know what I mean.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, UPCOMING EVENTS!
I swear, if I lived anywhere near this, I would do it in a heartbeat!
It seems like so much fun!
IN MY OPINION
If I had more time, I’d organize one somewhere. I mean, how can you not just have a smile on your face all day when surrounded by people and their silly, mischievous, mammoth, mini, serious, confused, willing, dragging, running longears?!
I think I should just buy a ticket and sit at a coffee shop (or pub) and watch the festivities!
Totally something to write home about…
GREAT IDEA! Thank you.
“Running with Norman” by Christopher McDougall is a book (released last year) which recounts the creation of a pack burro racing team and racing in the competition itself in Colorado. Really fun read! Hey – you might see if you can get a few dozen copies to use for a Bucket Fund fundraising challenge!
Just stumbled across your wonderful blog post. I’m a serious runner here in Colorado. I’ve often encountered folks running their burros on trails around town. The idea of pack burro racing has always drawn me in. But, as a suburbanite, I have no way to keep a burro. Then I found our donkey shelter, Longhopes (http://longhopes.org). I’ve been volunteering for a few months and am feet over “ass” about these wonderful sweeties. I work with them weekly and we’ve already eyeballed a few that have good running potential. We hope to be able to train some good pack runners … they become more adoptable and I get understand how to train and run donkeys. Win/win!! I’ve got my eyes on that triple crown 2014!
Check out http://www.haulinassthemovie.com and since this great blog. The Pack Burro Racers of Colorado stormed the State Capitol and demanded that they make us a State Sport. So they did… Pack Burro Racing is Designated as the Summer Heritage Sport of Colorado in 2012. See us on Facebook “Pack Burro Racing” we have fun all year around with our great animals.
Glad I found this blog.
We are contemplating begining a race here in Fort Davis TX. Tentatively, our first is scheduled for October 13th 2012,. We should have a full schedule of events by mid August…We will need participants from the region and of course lots of volunteers!
What a wonderful article. I have seen one race and I think once the word gets out this sport will become a FAST FAVORITE, in state and out. That is the key–the word hasn’t gotten out and when people find out about Burro Racing they get EXCITED. I have started looking around online to learn more.
It seems to have something for everyone. It is run in natural terrain in all of the beauty of the area. All ages, sizes, and inclinations can participate. How much more all encompassing can a sport be? There is room for the true contender as well as the family and friends to run. It is one of the few competitions where “everyone” can be a ‘winner’! As you said, it is something even a bench warmer can enjoy.
Think what it does for the towns that sponsor. People come out in droves. There are booths, rides, parades, dances, shops, museums, movies, all kinds of things to eat and do while the race is running. And plenty of time to be there for the start and finish and still fit everything else in. It is a day with variety, excitement and all the beauty nature can provide. What town wouldn’t want to host an event like that? What person wouldn’t want to go SEE IT! I know I want to see another race as soon as I can.
Yes, durring the parade we only walk the donkey’s. you need to do this at least once in your life..it is an absoulte blast. you can only go as fast as the donkey will go, and you do not have to be in shape. if the donkey doesn’t feel like doing something, they won’t. You can make a horse do something, you can negotiate with a mule, but you MUST ask a donkey do to something. my 2 mini’s have sat like dogs on their butts instead of going over a foot wide stream…..
WHO KNEW !!! I Just love this !!! Had NO idea – I love people when they are at their craziest for good, healthy fun-for-all !!!! Thanks so much for sharing !!! I’ve posted your story on my fb – so fascinating !!
TWENTY-NINE MILES?!?! Yikes! Those people and burros are mighty fit, if they can complete THAT kind of course in a day! You and Norma had better step up your conditioning program ;-). I had certainly never heard of this sport but yes, it would be very fun to see it….
OMG… there’s a “Triple Crown” of Burro Racing. I think you and Norma need to train and JUST DO IT! Double-donkey-dare-ya!!
Looks like a fun race, but NOT ON PAVEMENT!!! Parades down streets at the walk are okay, but I hope the actual races are held on natural terrain – start to finish. Every time I see a horse even trotting on pavement, I cringe. I don’t think burros would fare any better. The people are wearing padded, rubber-sole shoes, for heavens sake!
Some folks recommend EZ Boots to lessen impact and improve traction on hard surfaces. Police horses, who are sometimes required to really move on pavement, wear special padded shoes, and the bottom is coated with borium.
Just sayin’ …
Although I pretty much love everything you blog about, this one was particularly facinating for me. Alas, I don’t have a donkey and I’m nowhere near as fit as the people in the photos look! The race looks like it would be so much fun to watch, wish I lived closer. Those wonderful long ears! I personally think they are just as beautiful as the finest horse.
Love this idea!!! I mean, really, how cool would that be? Thanks for posting!