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Pack Burro Racing

Colorado State Summer Heritage Sport

Burro Race "Get yer Ass up the Pass Race," 2010 Burro Days in Fairplay, Colorado. Photo by Jonathan Brown / Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution).

Official State Summer Heritage Sport of Colorado

Colorado designated pack burro racing as the official state summer heritage sport in 2012. All State Sports

House Joint Resolution 12-1021

WHEREAS, In the 19th century, it was common for Colorado miners to keep donkeys, known as pack burros, to carry their tools and supplies through the Rocky Mountains as they prospected for gold, silver, and other valuable ores; and

WHEREAS, It is said that at that time, two miners found gold in the same location, and raced each other back to town to be the first to stake a claim to the find. Neither miner could ride their animal because of its load and so they ran alongside their burros; and

WHEREAS, Based on stories such as these, and in the spirit of carrying on the traditions of Colorado's early citizens, the sport of pack burro racing was born, with the first official event between Leadville and Fairplay organized in 1949; and

WHEREAS, Pack burro racing is the first of its kind in the world and is considered to be the only indigenous sport of Colorado; and

WHEREAS, Particular to the sport of pack burro racing, an individual runs alongside and leads his or her burro, which is weighed down by a thirty-three pound pack; and

WHEREAS, Thousands of people from around the state and beyond travel to the original mining towns of the Rocky Mountains to attend or participate in annual pack burro races; and

WHEREAS, There are currently organized pack burro racing events in the towns of Idaho Springs, Georgetown, Buena Vista, Leadville, and Fairplay. Each event is part of a festival celebrating the town's history; and

WHEREAS, Colorado pack burro racing has its own Triple Crown, requiring a racer to win all three consecutive pack burro events in Fairplay, Leadville, and Buena Vista; and

WHEREAS, The race held in Fairplay, Colorado, is 29 miles in length and counts as an ultra-marathon; and

WHEREAS, Pack burro racing is an inclusive sport, having welcomed women to compete since 1951. Barb Dolan is a 13-time Triple Crown winner, and, most recently, 2-time winner Karen Thorpe won the Triple Crown in 2011. Both women have been named Sportswomen of Colorado for Burro Racing; and

WHEREAS, The exercise gained by participating in a pack burro race is beneficial and healthy for both runner and burro; and

WHEREAS, Commemorating the unique and colorful heritage of Colorado and its citizens is essential to attracting visitors from around the United States and the world; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Sixty-eighth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring herein:

That we, the members of the General Assembly, do hereby designate pack burro racing as a summer heritage sport in Colorado.