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.