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Sounds of summer: An audio postcard from Burrofest in Mancos

 A crowd is gathered on a beautiful June day in downtown Mancos to watch Burros navigate through an obstacle course.
LP McKay
A crowd is gathered on a beautiful June day in downtown Mancos to watch Burros navigate through an obstacle course.

Burrofest has become an annual tradition in Mancos, Colorado for the past 4 years. This lighthearted event celebrates the link between the hardworking, stubborn animal and their human companions. LP McKay attended the event in June and brings us this audio postcard.

Kelly Pettyjohn, Announcer: (Providing race play-by-play) Hamilton is just non-plussed. The competition is not, not getting to her nerves. She will do this at her own pace and in her own time.

Kelly Smith, BRAY: My name is Kelly Smith and this is Hamilton and this is Coco and Jeff Williams.

Jeff Williams, BRAY: Hello.

Kelly Smith, BRAY: And, we are up from Yuma, Arizona. We come up with a whole group of Arizona folks, and uh, like to do some Burrofest shenanigans.

LP McKay, KSJD News: Awesome. Is this your first time here?

Kelly Smith, BRAY: No, we've actually done it since the start. We didn't have our two donkeys the first year but we borrowed some from some other folks. So we've done it all four years that they've had it.

Kelly Pettyjohn, Announcer: Now the second time going through...Freya with the confidence

LP McKay: What goes into coming here? Do you do training? What kind of stuff do you get into?

Kelly Smith, BRAY: Yes, we do training with them. We do obstacle course training. I don't know if you notice that at the end of the podium, we do a lot of training on urban parks and things where we live and so we do will they'll have like sandstone benches and things like that, that we teach them to go up and over. We also do burro racing. And I'm actually part of a nonprofit called BRAY: Burros Rock Arizona and Yonder. We've got a couple of other of our board members here today with their donkeys and so we do the burro racing, we do obstacle and play days. We do meet-ups to practice this sort of thing. And we also do some outreach where we take the donkeys around town and just let people meet them and learn about donkeys.

Kelly Pettyjohn, Announcer: Oh, wait, do I see a notice from Freya that they're trying to make it an equal race on the way back? ...Sportsmanship at its finest...Yeah, and there goes Hamilton saying no, I'm gonna cut you off.

LP McKay: So for your for Hamilton here. What is his what was his biggest obstacle?

Kelly Smith, BRAY: His biggest obstacle to overcome is actually leaving Coco. They're very bonded. And so once we get going once we get a little bit further away from Coco and he, I give him a cookie once we get far enough away, and he realizes there are snacks to be had, he'll go through pretty quickly. I do usually, especially the first time we need to let him stop and sniff and look and make sure all the footing is good for him and he knows what he's doing. And as long as I give him a little bit of time to think about it. He's usually pretty good about going over everything. But the key is just to let him think and let him know what's safe and then he'll go right along.

LP McKay: Awesome. And how old is Hamilton? Hamilton is six.

Kelly Pettyjohn, Announcer: And, I think we've got Hamilton at the top of this heat. Way to go Hamilton!

Copyright 2023 KSJD.

LP McKay
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