What do you want for free?

There have been the usual complaints about nothing new at Hardscrabble Times this week. Hey, what do you expect for free? Especially during the week between the final two events of the 2009 pack-burro racing season. Last week’s race at Buena Vista turned out to be a repeat of the previous week at Fairplay, with Bobby Lewis able to get his burro Wellstone over the finish line again 2 seconds ahead of myself and Laredo. It’s a little frustrating, but then I suppose I should be happy to even be in the running at my rather advanced stage of youthfulness.

Laredo, Hal and Harrison following another second-place finish at Buena Vista. Photo by Tim Van Riper.

Laredo, Hal and Harrison following another second-place finish at Buena Vista. Photo by Tim Van Riper.

The next morning bright and early I was limping away to the Colorado Springs airport to pick up my old high-school buddy and neighbor Eric Leeper and his son Sam, who were visiting from Indiana. Eric and I lived in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Annandale, Va., and attended high school in Burke at Lake Braddock but I had not seen him in 23 years. Eric is now a noted professor of economics at Indiana University.

We spent four days more or less getting reacquainted, taking in the local scenery and bugging out Eric’s mind and eyes with my lifestyle. On Tuesday we packed Sam and my son Harrison on burros to the Swift Creek Beaver Ponds, where the fishing was quite decent though tricky with all the overgrowth. Harrison even hooked into a nice cutthroat with a little help from dad, and held the flyrod as I scrambled down the bank to release the fish.

After taking Eric and Sam back to the airport Thursday, Harrison and I spent a lovely evening dining in the backyard of my longtime friends Mad Dog O’Grady and wife Shannon. After that I returned home to find an unexpected rush editing job had fallen into my lap. What’s a guy to do in this economy but stay up past midnight and get the job done?

That left me two days to get my @#$% back together for Sunday’s big race at Leadville. For tomorrow’s race I find myself focusing not so much on No. 1 or No. 2, but rather on No. 30. If all goes well that’s the number of consecutive finishes I’ll have had at Boom Days.

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