Brief by Central Staff
Pack-Burro Racing – August 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine
Triple Crown Series
Pack-burro racing is the only sport indigenous to Central Colorado, and the schedule is at its peak now, with the Triple Crown series:
1) World Championship Pack-Burro Race on July 27 in Fairplay, 29 miles to the summit of Mosquito Pass and back.
2) International Pack-Burro Race on August 3 in Leadville, 20 miles to the top of Mosquito Pass and back.
3) Gold-Rush Days Pack-Burro Race on August 10 in Buena Vista, 11 miles into the Mosquito Range and back.
Following the big three will be a six-mile race on Sept. 1 for WestFest at Copper Mountain.
At the first short race of the summer, Barbara Dolan and her burro Sailor of Twin Lakes won the Silver Cliff to Westcliffe Western Pack-Burro Race on May 24, passing Westcliffe-area resident Hal Walter when his burro Spike stopped just short of the finish line.
The pair had blazed the 6-mile course (there are, of course, many shorter routes between Silver Cliff and Westcliffe) in just slightly more than 39 minutes, a pace of roughly 6 minutes and 30 seconds per mile. When it was all said and done, Dolan took the victory by one second.
Dolan, who took the lead at about the 2-mile point in the race, was one of about a half-dozen of the racers whose burros got loose in the wild downhill start. Somehow she managed to capture Sailor, get back in the race and take the lead. But Walter trailed her closely.
After about 3½ miles, Walter’s burro, unexpectedly turned off the course and Dolan opened up a lead of about 75 yards. Walter caught up with Dolan in the cross-country section of the course east of the Saddle Club grounds, and the pair sprinted up the hill past the fire station.
Walter got the angle on the righthand turn behind Vimont Park and seemingly had the race won. But once again Dolan recovered, and when Spike stopped short of the line, her burro went across.
Mary Walter and Clyde finished third overall, and second woman, about 2.5 minutes behind the top finishers. Curtis Imrie and Waymore of Buena Vista placed fourth overall, second man. Third finishers, male and female, were Chris Kanagy and Taco Bell of Golden and Sue Conroe and Oscar of Salida.
A total of 22 racers and their burros started the race in Silver Cliff, with 21 actually finishing the course. The event was sponsored by the Westcliffe Merchants Association and supported by local sponsors. Dave Purnell was race director.