Zack and Jack take it all!

George Zack and Jack cross the finish line at the 67th Annual Burro

Days World Championship Pack Burro Race in 2015, as the long course (29.5 miles) winners. Zack and Jack were three-time race winners. In 2013 the team took second by only two seconds. This year’s competitors will hope to etch their names in the record books, starting at 10:30 a.m., July 28 in Fairplay. (Photo by Crysta Alcorn)

The 71st celebration of burros and their irreplaceable place in mining history will take place July 26-28 in Fairplay.

More than 10,000 people participate in festivities such as burro races, llama races, kiddies pack dog races, gold panning, a parade, outhouse races, more than 145 arts, craft and food booths, local musical entertainment, a barbecue and barn dance, a pancake breakfast, a petting zoo, cowboy church services and much more.

As usual, the highly competitive long-and short-course World Championship Pack Burro Races will serve as centerpieces amongst a lengthy list of events and activities. The races challenge donkeys and human partners alike in journeys covering considerable distances and severe changes in elevation along the way.

The Long Course race begins on Front Street in Fairplay, goes up Mosquito Pass (elevation 13,185 feet), and returns to Front Street in Fairplay.

The Short Course race begins on Front Street in Fairplay, follows the Long Course to the designated turn-around and returns to Front Street in Fairplay. Distance is approximately 15 miles.

According to official race rules, “The winning combination consists of a man or woman, and a burro which must cross the finish line as a unit. The man or woman may be leading or following the burro, but the burro’s nose crossing the finish line first constitutes the winner.”

While there might not be a fortune in rare gems or gold nuggets awaiting the winning tandem, the first-place burro and its human partner will split a $1000 reward for their efforts in the Long Course race, or $500 for top honors in the Short Course.

No reference is made in the rules as to how winning partners divide prize money – that is entirely left for the burro and human partners to decide between themselves.

Considerable cash is, however, awarded to the top eight finishers in each event.

As part of the ongoing TGIFairplay Concert Series, The Nacho Men will be taking the stage to perform a free concert July 26 at 6 p.m. on 5th Street.

The Nacho Men have used their special blend of dance music, costume changes, choreography and side-splitting humor to keep all generations of fans coming back for their high-energy, interactive rock and roll show. The Nacho Men can do it all - street corner a capella, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s music, swing and disco.

Burros and human race participants should be careful not to overindulge at the concert, where beer and wine will be served, because weigh-ins for the big race occur at 9 a.m. the next morning. The race itself begins at 11 a.m., July 27.

The Outfitters will hit the stage at July 27 from 4-6 p.m. on 5th Street, and the barbecue and barn dance get underway at 5 p.m. at the Legion Hut, located at the intersection of Clark and 6th Streets.

Sunday morning, July 28, fittingly begins with a pancake breakfast at South Park High School from 7-10 a.m., and cowboy church services at the Gazebo on Main and 5th Streets at 9 a.m. A parade, centered around 4th, 6th and Front Streets, will get underway at 11:30 a.m.

The equine talent show will take place some time around noon at the Park County Fairgrounds, followed by the ever-popular outhouse races at 1 p.m. on Front Street.

Burro Days attendees of all ages also regularly enjoy the Arts and Crafts Fair, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., July 27-28, on the courthouse lawn near Main and 5th Streets. Entertainment at the Gazebo will also include the Burro Days Museum, fair amusements for kids of all ages, gold panning, a petting zoo, gunfights by the Reynolds Gang and a wide variety of food and beverages.

The Bayou Salado Rendezvous will feature a pre-1840 Primitive Camp, July 26-29, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., across the river at 200 Platte Drive.

A more comprehensive calendar of events for Burro Days follows:

Burro Days 2019

Friday, July 26

10 a.m. - Hike with Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative, at Limber Grove Trail - 719-836-2444

6 p.m. - TGIFairplay Free Concert, on 5th Street - Food, beer, wine and live music with The Nacho Men

Saturday, July 27

9 a.m. - Weigh-in for Llama Race, Front Street

10 a.m. - Kiddies Pack Dog Race in Alma

11 a.m. - Llama Race, Front Street; Llama Rama Race to follow

1 p.m. - Llama Lunacy, Front Street

3 p.m. - History of Sheldon Jackson at the South Park Community Church, 600 Hathaway Street

4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Free Live Music on 5th Street, with “The Outliers”

5 p.m. - BBQ and Barn Dance at Legion Hut, 6th and Clark Streets

Sunday, July 28

7 a.m-10 a.m. - Pancake Breakfast at High School, benefits South Park Activities Association

8 a.m. - Weigh-in for Pack Burro Race, Front Street

9 a.m. - Cowboy Church at Gazebo on the Lawn, Main and 5th Streets

10:30 a.m. - Pack Burro Race, Front Street

11:30 a.m. - Parade, 4th Street to Front Street to 6th Street

Noon-ish - Equine Talent Show, Park County Fairgrounds

1 p.m. - Outhouse Races, Front Street

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