in a row
Buena Vista burro racer Bobby Lewis came in first place at the World Championship Pack Burro Race at the 61st Annual Burro Days in Fairplay on July 26.
Lewis, accompanied by his burro Wellstone, completed the approximately 30-mile race in 5 hours, 33 minutes, and 42 seconds, beating his first-place finishing time of 5 hours 47 minutes and 39 seconds set last year.
Westcliffe resident Hal Walter, along with his burro Laredo, came in second place with a time of 5 hours, 33 minutes, 44 seconds.
Last year's race was also extremely close with Lewis taking first place 14 seconds in front of Walter.
The race was close at the end, with both men hurrying down Front Street in Fairplay toward the finish line in rainy weather. They were cheered on by a crowd that saw Lewis Beat Walter by only two seconds.
Salida resident Karen Thorpe, and her burro Dakota, came in third place this year with a time of 6 hours, 5 minutes, and 37 seconds.
During the race, which began on Front Street in Fairplay and took racers into the Mosquito Range, the runners had to deal with rain, hail, and lightning.
Lewis said he was fine with the weather, saying after the race that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices for weather.
The race was between 29 and 30 miles for the long runners, according to Bill Reeves, trail master and official time keeper for the Fairplay race.
Runners had the choice of running a shorter race, which was 15 miles long. Franktown resident Frank Vincent and burro Crazy Horse came in first place in the short race with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, and 7 seconds. Buena Vista resident Barb Dolan and burro Willy took the second spot with a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, 7 seconds. Highlands Ranch resident Diane Van Der Koven took the third-place spot with a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 33 seconds.
Reeves said the trail hadn't changed much this year from last year.
Even the weather was pretty much the same, he said.
Lewis will compete next in the Aug. 2 race in Buena Vista and on Aug. 9 in Leadville.
The Fairplay race is the first leg of the triple crown of burro racing
Lewis said the race in Buena Vista is particularly challenging because it is much shorter than the Fairplay race.
His preparation for the next race is pretty simple, he said. "I'm going to look for a massage therapist for my legs between now and then."