Historical Celebration at 10,200ft

The Burro Race Rules

The Rules

**UPDATED FOR 2024**


Each entrant, or their sponsor, will pay a $70 registration fee. This fee can be paid online via the registration website – itsyourrace.com.

Entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable under any circumstances.


Each burro is required to be equipped with a regulation pack saddle, a pick, shovel, and gold pan. It is strongly recommended that all participants carry at least one quart of water, food (an energy bar), and weather appropriate clothing (such as a windbreaker). Loss of all or part of the pack and mining tools will disqualify the contestant.

The burro will be led by the halter to which is attached a rope not to exceed 15 feet in length.

Jack chains may be used only if used with a pressure-release technique. (A jack chain is a chain or strap which is used to apply pressure over the muzzle, under the chin, or through the mouth). Any racer coming across the finish line with nose and/or chin injuries on the animal resulting from the jack chain will be disqualified.


Runners are responsible for securing their own burro for participation in the event. This burro can be one that the runner personally owns, one that they have borrowed from a friend or family member (loaner), or one that they have rented from a burro lessor (lessor) of their choosing. In any case, where the burro is owned by anyone other than the participant him or herself, the owner of the burro will be known as the burro lessor (lessor). Whether money changes hands to obtain a burro or not, or whether a lessor operates as a for-profit or not-for-profit entity, the term “lessor” is used universally.

Entry fees are separate from any burro rental fee a runner may incur from a Burro Lessor.

The following is the definition of a burro and is to be used in selecting a burro: The word “burro” comes from the Spanish word meaning donkey. A donkey is defined as being an ass. They have chestnuts on the forelegs only, while other animals of the same species, such as mules or horses, have them on hind and forelegs. The tail has no hair, except on its lower part, which has a brush.

For those participating in the “Long Course,” it is suggested that the team have completed at least 3 training runs together before racing, if possible.

Burros must be sound and in good health. We will not permit the participation of a lame burro in the event.

A registered veterinarian, or other race official, shall have the authority to disqualify any contestant and animal that does not match the above description, or whose animal is sick, doped, injured, or mistreated. The veterinarian and/or another qualified race official will check the animal before and after the race.

Winning burros can be held in a designated area by the race committee for 30 minutes for checking by the veterinarian, director, or other qualified staff. While held in the designated area, only the runner is permitted to be with the burro.

All runners must keep their burros under control. This is especially true for runners with jacks. Any burro (jacks particularly) that interferes with another runner or burro may be disqualified.

After disqualification or completion of the event, all burros are to be returned to a corral or trailer within 30-minutes.


Defined as any person performing the duties of a race director, race committee member, race owner, Leadville Boom Days Committee member, The City of Leadville and its staff, or officially recognized race staff or registered volunteer.

Burro lessors, burro racers, and burro owners are not race officials. It is imperative that individuals not present themselves as a race official, or behave in any manner that may confuse participants, landowners, other vendors, volunteers, actual race officials, or the public into believing that they are a race official. Should any individuals present themselves in this manner before, during, or after the event; all teams (see definition of ‘Team’ below) that include the individuals in violation of this rule may be  disqualified.


The race route must be followed exactly as it has been laid out. Race officials will make every attempt to mark the route with signs, surveyor’s tape, people and/or checkpoints. Runners are encouraged to review the course map prior to race day.

Do not cut switchbacks or any other aspect of the route. Any burro leaving the course must be returned to the course at the exact location (or prior to) where the burro left the course. Failure to follow these rules will result in disqualification.


Any contestant mistreating his/her animal may be disqualified. No needles, electric prods, narcotics,  clubs or whips, other than the halter rope, may be used.


Runner and burro starting the race must remain a team throughout the contest. Should any runner hand their lead, rope, halter, etc. to any other person, this will signify that the team has quit the event and they will be officially disqualified. Any runner becoming separated from their burro (i.e. burro and runner are no longer racing as a connected team or unit) must return to the place they became separated before continuing the race.

Only registered Teams and Volunteers are allowed on the course! No team is allowed assistance from a burro lessor while out on the course. Should a runner receive assistance from the lessor for any reason, it will be assumed that this assistance signifies their choice to withdraw themselves as an official participant in the event.

Lessors are only allowed to access the course to retrieve their animal and/or the runner the animal is teamed up with in the event of a DQ, emergency, or participant withdrawal. Runners will lead their burro off the official course and transfer handling of the burro over to the lessor outside of any finish corral.


The runner may lead, drive, push, pull, or carry the burro. The runner shall at no time progress except under his/her own power. The runner may not ride the burro or “drag” the burro.

Ropes/leads should be held in the runner’s hands. We strongly suggest that no harnesses or other apparatuses be used to tie or anchor the runner to the donkey.


The carrying and/or use of firearms will not be permitted.


No runner shall interfere with other runners by deliberate personal contact or receive help deliberately from others, nor shall they use anything other than the speed of travel to keep from being passed. They shall not scare or startle any opponent’s burro to keep from being passed. Any contestant judged by officials to be deliberately slowing the pace of the race shall be disqualified. This applies especially to the finish of the race. No one is authorized to run with a runner at any time while on the trail. Any trail judge or authorized person may stop a burro while on the trail to check out equipment, runner or burro. If the trail judge or other authorized person feels that a violation has occurred, runner and burro may be disqualified.


No city/town, private-property owners along the course, sponsoring businesses, governmental agencies, persons or organizations will be responsible in case of accident or injury to contestants. Each entrant must sign a waiver and/or release of responsibility.


The winning combination consists of a runner and burro which must cross the finish line as a unit. The runner may be leading or following the burro but the burro’s nose crossing the finish line first constitutes the winner.


In the event of a tie, the prize money involved, if any, will be equally divided by the contestants involved.


Should a runner be disqualified by a race official, they may continue the race and they may elect to appeal their disqualification to the race director. The decisions of the race director and The Leadville Boom Days Committee will be final. 


Each runner is required to always follow the race code of ethics, which states: You agree to abide by the following code of conduct before, during, and after this event. You will be respectful to all other runners, volunteers, and race staff and directors. We are all here for the love of this wild and crazy sport, and, like you, we’re human.