Pack Burro Racing is the Most Charming Form of Racing

Watch this mini-doc on Colorado’s unbelievable official state sport

When California legislators advanced a bill a few months back to make surfing the state’s official sport, I started looking into the official state sports of the rest of the union. A couple are strange. Maryland’s is jousting, for example.

But Colorado has by fat the best: pack burro racing.

This is indigenous to Colorado and is a bit of a nod to the state’s mining past when prospectors would lead burros laden with supplies through mountain passes. It works like this: there’s a prescribed course that runners must navigate while leading a burro on a rope. The runner may not, at any point, no matter how tempted they are, ride the burro. They can carry the burro. They can drag the burro. They can push the burro. But the burro may not be ridden.

The below video is a really nice little history of the nation’s strangest and most charming state sport.


  • tom

    pack burro racing in Colorado is a mighty fine way get out of the heat. the races are scattered in a handful of cool high elevation old towns, mostly on the front range. I’ve been hiking with a burro, adopted from the bureau of land management, since 1992. they make very durable pack animals. they tolerate heat and cold, as their genetics were formed in the deserts of north Africa. like the documentary mentions, they are not stubborn, they are cautious. they are smarter than horses so they tend to “look the situation over” before they respond! Curtis imrie is one of the grand old men in Colorado pack burro racing, and much of his racing stock as been from bureau of land management burros he adopted in past years. if you might be looking for a good racing burro or trail companion pack animal, think about wild burro adoption. there are many rounded up horses and burros that need adopting. and if you might not be up to the challenge of taming and training your own burro or horse, blm often has “finished products” that are done by trusted inmates in departments of correction in multiple states. we have this program here in Arizona (Florence) and it is a “win-win” program. t taylor, volunteer, bureau of land management, wild horse & burro program……

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