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Barb Dolan, Tom Sobal win triple crowns

Article by Central Staff

Pack-burro racing – September 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

For the second straight year, Barb Dolan and her burro Sailor crossed the finish line before all racers to take first place overall in the Buena Vista Pack-Burro Race on August 9.

Dolan’s win captured for her the title of winner of the prestigious Triple Crown of Pack-Burro Racing in the Women’s Division–as she also won the women’s division at both the World Championship Pack-Burro Race held in Fairplay July 27 and the Leadville International Pack-Burro Race August 3.

The top finisher Saturday in the Men’s division was Hal Walter of Westcliffe. After leading for most of the course, racer Hal Walter and his burro Clyde were neck-in-neck with racer Dolan. As spectators gathered for the photo finish, in classic pack-burro race style, Walter’s burro Clyde slowed down just feet from the finish and Dolan and Sailor sailed past them crossing the finish line first — almost a repeat of last year’s finish.

Second place finishers were Curtis Imrie of Buena Vista (Men’s division) and Melissa Lee-Sobal of Leadville (Women’s division). Third place finishers were Mary Walter of Westcliffe (Women’s division) and Tom Sobal of Leadville (Men’s division). Tom Sobal was also this year’s winner of the Men’s division of the Triple Crown of Burro Racing, as he won first place in both the Fairplay and Leadville races.

Fifteen racers competed in the 18th Annual Buena Vista Pack-Burro Race. The Buena Vista race is the third leg of the Triple Crown of Pack-Burro Racing and is a Buena Vista tradition recalling the days of miners, gold and prospecting. The grueling 11-mile race features top-class runners who, along with their burros which are loaded with a pack saddle containing mining equipment (pan, shovel and pick), race at a near-stampede out of town, run over steep and difficult terrain, and return to town for the finish.

Pack-Burro Racing, the only sport indigenous to Central Colorado, originated approximately 50 years ago in Fairplay.

“We appreciate all the support from the community and our sponsors, and we look forward to next year’s race and hope to continue to build on a tradition that is truly unique and part of the Colorado Rocky Mountain heritage,” said Buena Vista race co-organizer Sean Herrin. Barb Dolan also helped organize the event.

Sponsors were Vista Builders, Coast to Coast Hardware, Collegiate Peaks Bank, the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce, the Gold Rush Days Committee, Dr. Jerry Steinauer, High Country Coffees/Bongo Billy’s, Bev Coggins Realty, The Meister House, Homestead Builders, Salida Building & Loan, Creekside Books and Art, Buena Vista Realty, ASI-RCC, All Star Footwear-Salida, Natalia Ayers, City Market, Little Daisy Liquors, and Saba McWilliams.

Veterinarian Leslie Harrison donated her time to perform the pre-race Vet Check and the Chaffee-Lake Amateur Repeater Association (CLARA) helped provide radio assistance along the course route. CLARA members included Leon Golden, Tom Rampton, Carl Kinnel, Jack Close, George Cowan, John Stewart, Dean Miller, and Pauline Golden. Other race volunteers included Colleen Herrin, Wendy Herrin, Dusty Mann, Jennifer Mann, Betty Severson, and Leonard Smith.