“It’s like riding an escalator”: Burro racing isn’t likely to go mainstream, but it’s having a moment in Colorado | SummitDaily.com

“It’s like riding an escalator”: Burro racing isn’t likely to go mainstream, but it’s having a moment in Colorado

The sport is attracting more runners every year as people compete for First Ass Up the Pass and the donkey Triple Crown

Jennifer Brown
The Colorado Sun
Local racer Marvin Sandoval urges Buttercup to loop around the Mosquito Pass sign during the Leadville Burro Race on Sunday, Aug. 7. Sandoval adopted Buttercup for his daughter, but ended up using her as his main racing burro several years ago, when his original burro was limping before a race. “I just saw that she had that internal drive to want to be in the front,” Sandoval said, “So I just started training with her and then I guess we started winning a lot of races together.”
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

LEADVILLE — At the sound of gunfire, the burros take off in a sprint, so fast that the trail runners gripping their lead ropes are at risk of getting dragged down the pavement of historic Harrison Avenue.

Within the first block, with a crowd of several hundred lining the street to watch this spectacle, a donkey is already loose. Its runner manages to catch up and grab the burro’s rope, then trots it back to the spot where the two became detached. To keep going without retracing those steps would have meant disqualification. 

Which, in burro racing, happens all the time. 

This is the burros’ race, so either keep up, get dragged or let go. 

“Your job is to get out of town with everyone else — lungs popping out of your chest, whatever it takes, get in the herd,” said Brad Wann, who trailered 15 donkeys to last Sunday’s Boom Days Pack Burro Race in Leadville from his Larkspur sanctuary, ReDonkulous Ranch.

Read more on ColoradoSun.com.

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