CREEDE — After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Creede will be honoring its mining heritage in a fuzzy, fun way with The Donkey Dash on June 12.
According to history, miners used donkeys to pack supplies to and from the mines. So, in honor of those days, the town hosts an annual event with donkeys in the spotlight. Due to the heavy loads the animals used to carry, owners did not ride their trusty steads and instead walked alongside them, which is what adds to the fun of the Donkey Dash.
According to the Creede and Mineral County Chamber of Commerce, “Burro racing is a great sport begun 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.”
The Creede Donkey Dash will abide by the basic rules of burro racing as established by the Western Pack Burro Association. Competitors will run the entire distance, leading their pack burro.
The Creede Donkey Dash starts and finishes on Main Street adjacent to Basham Park. Teams consist of a burro and runner. The course covers about 10 miles through Creede’s Historic Mining District. Competitors will pass by the Creede Underground Mining Museum, up East Willow Canyon-North Creede. Several mines can be seen along this part of the race, including the remnants of the Kentucky Belle, gripping the cliffs hundreds of feet above the road.
The course continues through the switchbacks to the Midwest Mine where teams have views of the Amethyst Mine, run through the Weaver Town Site, down “Black Pitch,” past the Commodore Mine to finish off the final three miles of the race with a gradual downhill that ends on a cheering Main Street.
The course is subject to change due to Forest Service Road Conditions. The alternate course loops in front of the Court House from Main Street to Loma Avenue up toward Capital Avenue and picks up Forest Road 504/Bachelor Loop Road. Runners will turn around and follow the course back to the Start-Finish Line.
The Donkey Dash race begins at 1 p.m.
In addition to the Donkey Dash, the weekend also brings racers to the finish line with nothing but brakes and gravity. The annual Gravity Derby will take place Sunday, June 13, in Downtown Creede. Guests are encouraged to hang around the entire weekend, visit open shops, and eat local food but more importantly they do not want to miss the Gravity Derby that takes place on Sunday. Every year there are about 15 to 20 participants that must only follow three rules — make sure the homemade soapbox cars can steer, brake and stop.
Participants of all ages spend weeks prior to the race making their soapbox cars that only use gravity to make it to the finish line. Pre-register at the Visitor Center, with Parks and Rec, or the day of the race at the north end of Main Street. The racing begins at 9 a.m.