Burro Days is back for 69th season of dragging your ass up Mosquito Pass
On any other weekend, running nearly 30 miles from downtown Fairplay to the summit of Mosquito Pass and back is a long and lung-busting journey. But to do it with an ornery pack burro and at least 33 pounds of mining equipment, all for a cool $1,000? That’s Burro Days in a nutshell.
Today and tomorrow (July 29-30), the annual celebration of llamas, burros and Park County’s mining past celebrates its 69th season, making it the oldest and largest summer event in county history. Roughly 10,000 visitors from all corners of the country and world are expected to descend on Fairplay and Alma — combined population: fewer than 1,000 year-round residents — to watch races, sample dozens of food vendors and enjoy a weekend in the historic High Rockies.
“This is our history,” longtime volunteer coordinator Julie Bullock said. “It celebrates the role of the burro in mining and that is why Fairplay is here. We like to celebrate our history in this area, even though we don’t have a ski area, and it’s kind of a quirky, fun weekend.”
Move your ass
Festivities began Friday night with free live music and continue today with llama races in downtown Fairplay and kid-friendly dog races in Alma. Like all Burro Days races, the llama and dog races are partner events, meaning all competitors run while paired with one animal. On-site registration is available for the llama run and afternoon Llama Lunacy obstacle race, but there might not be any animals remaining at race time.
Sunday brings the main event: the Get Yur Ass Up the Pass pack burro race. The day opens with a benefit pancake breakfast — one of several fundraisers for South Park schools — and continues with the race at 11 a.m. Teams of one burro and one human leave Fairplay at 11 a.m. for the 28-mile roundtrip journey to and from Mosquito Pass. Each team is loaded with at least 33 pounds of gear and the winning team takes home some serious cash: $1,000 for the winner, plus a $200 bonus for the first team to reach the pass summit. There’s also a short course of 15 miles with a $500 grand prize. Last year’s event drew 68 people, but it’s been growing every year. Bullock expects 80 participants this season.
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