Donkey Dash brings fun to Creede

Courier photo by Keith R. Cerny This participant in the Creede Donkey Dash made a statement by abandoning her teammate near the start of the annual event. After an outburst of kicking and braying, the burro settled down and was captured by other participants coming from behind.

CREEDE – Hundreds of people gathered along Main Street in Creede for the annual Donkey Dash. Donkeys of all shapes and sizes stood along the roadway as their owners prepared for a day of fun and good old-fashioned donkey racing.

This year's dash hosted the largest number of donkey teams to toe the line in Creede, according to organizers. The oldest runner was Blair Smith at 76 years old and William Rohen-Trapp at 13. Racers traveled from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia to participate in the Creede Donkey Dash.

The annual Creede Donkey Dash kicked off with pack burros laden with mining supplies and other gear as the racers sped off, leaving the starting line in the dust. Local resident Nancy Leggitt was the commentator for the race, making sure to bring fun and laughter to the attending crowd.

This year boasted a new shorter race to bring more participants. Each race challenges racers and their burros depending on experience. Some of the returning racers have raced burros throughout Colorado and beyond, bringing with them a long-standing tradition that is loved by all who attend.

The burros come from all different types of backgrounds. Some have been owned by private owners, come from programs like the Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Project or from burro sanctuaries like those that reside in South Fork and other Colorado communities. Each animal is as unique as their owners and their uniqueness is what makes these races fun for everyone who attends.

“Burro racing is a great sport began by some of Colorado’s 19th-century miners. Those hardy characters used burros to carry mining tools and supplies through the Rocky Mountains as they prospected for gold, silver, and other valuable ores. Since the burros were carrying a full load, the miners had to walk, leading the animal with a rope. Legend has it that 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 could ride their animal because of its load, so one of the basic rules of burro racing was established.”

Winners for the 10-mile race were Bob Sweeny, with burro Yukon from Leadville coming in first with a time of 1 hour and 30:04 seconds. Coming in second with burro Mary Margaret was Tracy Laughlin from Salida with a time of 1:30:06 and in third place, Harrison Walter from Westcliff with burro Full Tilt Boogie with a time of 1:30:10.

In the new 3-mile race, from Golden, Jessica Hiatt with burro Arrow came in first with a time of 35:35. Coming in second was Ty Carroll from Pagosa Springs with burro Paco with a time of 38:34 and coming in third was Mathew Rohen-Trapp with burro Patrick Joseph from Tucson, Ariz., with a time of 39:51.