CREEDE — There are several fun things to do this weekend in the San Luis Valley, but if traveling through the Creede area, it could be worth it to stop on Saturday and cheer on some fun, furry racers as they dash toward victory along the Bachelor Loop in Creede. The annual Donkey Dash will be trotting into town, and it is billed as fun for the whole family.
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 a 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 are 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 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.
Using burros for hauling equipment was something that has been done throughout the years all over the world. The animals are well cared for and encouraged rather than forced to participate in the race and it can be fun to watch the handlers deal with the stubbornness of the animals just as much as watching the burros themselves vie for the finish line. This event has become so popular that other races are popping up all over the Valley.
For more information or a full schedule of events, visit www.creede.com or call the Creede and Mineral County Chamber of Commerce at 719-658-2374.