Pack Burro Racing: The Next Great Equestrian Sport?

Posted by Paige Cerulli

Pack burro racing is the next big thing, at least in Colorado, where it was inspired by 19th-century coal miners.

If you want to get involved in an equestrian sport, there are plenty to choose from. If you have a need for speed, then Thoroughbred racing or show jumping might be just perfect. If you prefer a little more control, then perhaps hunters or Western pleasure are more your style. But now the equestrian world can add one more sport to its already impressive repertoire: pack burro racing.

Yes, you heard us right. Pack burro racing is actually a sport, and it's quite popular in Colorado. The sport owes its heritage to Colorado's 19th-century miners who used burros to carry their tools and supplies through the Rocky Mountains. The miners walked alongside the burros (also known as donkeys), since the burros carried full supply loads. According to legend, two miners discovered gold in the same place, so they raced each other back to town to stake a claim to the property, their burros running alongside.

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In burro races, racers aren't allowed to ride their burros, instead competing on foot like the miners would have. Seeing as donkeys tend to have minds of their own, things can get interesting when donkeys go one way and their handlers go another.

Truth is, donkeys can be very fast, and are difficult to catch once they've gotten away. In the video below, there are a few escapees. Take a look!

This is my new sport! Pack Burro Racing! We stopped between Moab, a Utah and Denver for a quick pit stop and saw a man running down the street with a donkey. Asked him why he was running down the street with a donkey and found the new Summer Heritage Sport of Colorado. How many times do you get to watch 63 runners with burros complete with packs with gold pans, picks and shovels)start out on an 8 mile run? There were some disagreements as to speed and direction which led to me catching 2 loose donkeys and and returning them to their respective runners. Not sure I'll ever see something like that again😂

Posted by Jatha Austin on Saturday, May 27, 2017

In Colorado, burro racing season runs from May through September. The season consists of five events in five different towns, and there are even "Triple Crown" races in Fairplay, Leadville, and Buena Vista. If you're in Colorado, then taking in one of these races can be a great way to spend the day.

The Western Pack Burro Association oversees the burro racing. Be sure to check out their website for more information on this up-and-coming equestrian sport!

Would you like to give pack burro racing a try? Tell us in the comments below!

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Pack Burro Racing: The Next Great Equestrian Sport?