Burro races are a tradition in Colorado mountain towns. The burro races are a tribute to the miners and burros and have been a tradition for decades. Here are the two legends of how they got started.

Burro races still happen all over Colorado to this day. There's a few coming up in Leadville, Idaho Springs, Fairplay, Victor and more. When it comes to burro races, there are a few rules.

The runner leading the burro isn't able to ride it, the person is actually able to carry the burro, just not the other way around. Burros carry a pack with traditional mining gear and all cruelty is prohibited.

There are two legends of how burro racing started:

  • Legend One: When two miners both found gold in the same spot at the same time, they had to race to town to see who could get dibs by going to the claims office first. They couldn't ride the burros because their packs were too heavy, so they ran, leading them by a rope.
  • Legend Two: Burro races began when drunken miners in a bar in Leadville needed a way to make some money. Racing burros was the answer where the only using the pick, is the burro.

The picture below shows a burro race in Leadville in 1960 where people and burros race over Mosquito Pass, which is over 13,185 feet high. Burro races continue to be a tradition in Colorado, Leadville's 71st annual race is happening this Sunday.