Wiener dogs!: The top five animals you can still race in Colorado
Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill Monday that officially bans greyhound racing in Colorado. At one time, greyhound racing was a $250 million enterprise here, as fans thrilled to the cry of "Here comes Rusty!" as the dogs took off after a fake bunny. But the sport hasn't actually been practiced here for six years; it's viewed by many as inhumane and has been blamed for creating a glut of injury-riddled or difficult-to-care-for dogs who need homes once their careers are over.
Fortunately, there are plenty of animals you can race.
Greyhound racing has been banned in more than forty states besides Colorado. So this bill seems like a smart move, but it also leaves a hole in the gaming industry here, since there is only one operational horse track in Colorado -- Arapahoe Park -- as well as some rodeo-related horse-race events.
There are a number of other animal-racing options around the state, though. Here are five suggestions for where you can go to get in on the action -- but not necessarily any monetary action. As far as we know, betting isn't allowed at any of these events.
5. Wiener Racing
While greyhound racing is no longer permitted, you can still see racing going to the dogs around Colorado, especially if you're in the mood to catch dachshunds in places like Colorado Springs or Grand Junction. In fact, the sixth annual Wiener Dog Races are slated to be part of Grand Junction's Oktoberfest celebration this fall, and if the past five bouts have been any kind of example (you can see videos on YouTube), the competition is sure to be exciting down the stretch. Dachshund owners pay $10 to enter their canine contestants. The races run on a bracket system, and if there is a tie, they'll race those wieners again.
4. Burro Racing
One of our state's oldest traditions, burro racing got its start in Colorado in the 1850s, according to legend, when drunken miners in Leadville decided to make some easy money by pitting their pack animals (which they used to carry tools and supplies) against one another. Today the Western Pack Burro Ass-ociation ("66 years of hauling ass!") hosts a yearly Triple Crown of races in Fairplay (during Burro Days), Leadville and Buena Vista. There are also races (all are riderless) in Georgetown and Idaho Springs. How exciting are these matches? Well, in 2012, the Colorado Legislature designated pack-burro racing as the official state sport.
Continue to keep counting down our top five animals you can still race in Colorado now that greyhound racing is banned.