Thursday, September 3, 2015
I can already hear your thoughts. I know where your mind went!
But this post is about a mainstay found in the early mining communities of the Western United States. The Burro!
The burro, donkey or ass was the companion of early day miners. The burro was surefooted over treacherous mountain trails and could carry approx. 1/4 of its body weight. Miners would use the burro to carry their supplies and equipment to and from their mining claim. Quite often the burros would get loose or stray from their owners. These donkeys formed the foundation for many of the wild herds found around the U.S.
The Cripple Creek/Victor area of Colorado has always had 'wild' burros roaming the streets from as far back as I can remember. I can remember going to a Craft Fair in Victor one summer and wild asses (four-legged) wandered through the streets and attracted much attention.
Today, the Burro herd is only located in Cripple Creek. Not Victor. There is a fierce rivalry between these two old mining towns that are located only about 5 miles apart. Should the Burros begin to wander towards the town of Victor, then someone will go herd them back towards Cripple Creek. I do not know the whole story as to why the burros are only found in Cripple Creek now and not Victor, but I suspect it has to do with money. When gambling came to Cripple Creek, there was extra money to be had to care for these animals. Victor did not vote in gambling and is still a small struggling town.
During the warm weather months, the burro herd can be found wandering the streets of Cripple Creek. Quite often stopping traffic and attracting attention. During the winter, the herd is corralled and taken care of by the City of Cripple Creek. The herd is maintained at 15 individuals. All the herd members are 'fixed'. Should members be lost due to illness or age, anew donkeys will be acquired from a donkey rescue organization.
I always enjoy seeing these asses when I go to town!