30? Not yet


The 2009 Colorado Pack-Burro racing season concluded Sunday with Bobby Lewis of Buena Vista and his burro Wellstone winning the 22-mile Leadville Boom Days race, as well as the sport’s Triple Crown, just a few seconds ahead of myself and Laredo. Tim Van Riper caught this photo of Bobby (right) and myself at the turn-around on the Mosquito Pass summit, elevation 13,187 feet, where the wind was really whipping.

Bobby and I have had an interesting racing season due to the dynamics between Wellstone and Laredo. Laredo is Wellstone’s father. When we are out on the course, Wellstone refuses to leave Laredo on his own. But if I try to break the race open, Wellstone digs in to catch or keep pace with Laredo. Then when we near the finish line, Wellstone is willing to go slightly ahead of Laredo and Laredo refuses to pass him. And thus the three finishes just seconds apart.

Although I walked away with another frustrating second place, I extend my congratulations to Bobby, and also take satisfaction in my 30th consecutive finish at Leadville. My first race was in 1980 and I claimed the infamous “Last Ass over the Pass” award with a burro named Moose.

“30” is what we old-school journalists used to type at the end of a story to signify that it was complete, and some people have asked if I am ready to wind down my pack-burro racing career.

When I’m just a couple seconds from another win?

No. Not yet. But I might show up with a different burro.

3 thoughts on “30? Not yet

  1. hal,

    there’s a lot to be said for “consistency.” keep up the excellent efforts — running and ‘riting. and i agree: it’s your burro — or bobby’s.

    “hey, spike! life on the summit”
    summit daily news
    frisco, colorado

  2. Hal,

    Being my first burro race, I was amazed just how much fun it was to race with a burro; to have met you and the other great racers. After years of reading about you and the others, I finally had the chance to see what it was all about, I’m hooked on the sport. Today was my first training day with my burros here on our farm. I’d like to be able to run with you guys up front; it might take some burro training and lots of advice as well as races under my belt … you have an amazing amount of races and stories that knowone will probably ever duplicate, no shame in second, and in your consistancy. See you next year.

  3. Hal,

    Great sportsmanship this year! Also thanks for making the finish of all Triple Crown races exciting. I know you would have rather won all three by your usual 5 minutes, but the crowds love a close race. And that’s great for the sport.

    I’ll see you on the course next year

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