Donkey Derby Days 2023

donkey derby racingYou’ve probably never seen it anywhere else, but Cripple Creek offers you an opportunity to enjoy a donkey herd race that’s been a tradition for almost 100 years. Donkey Derby Days 2023 on August 11 – 13, 2022, will be one of the most popular Cripple Creek summer events you can enjoy. It’s a 92-year-old tradition that attracts people worldwide, and you’ll be fortunate enough to enjoy this rare spectacle. The racing donkeys are descendants of the original donkeys from the town’s gold rush era, where donkeys were integral to the operations of railroads, various local businesses, and of course, in the mines.

What is a Donkey Derby?

Teen standing with a camera in front of crowd petting a donkey

Source: Fox21 Local News

This year’s donkey derby will be a set of races – with three race heats and a final top 5 race attended by people worldwide. In addition to the fun of these sturdy animals racing downtown, there is a lot of food, music, a beer tent, a parade, and fun for everyone! One of the highlights, aside from the races, is a concert with Ted Vigil, a John Denver tribute artist who travels the country and brings the legend’s songs to crowds young and old.

Where do the Donkeys Come From?

donkey cart on a dirt road in rural area

A reliable form of transportation able to carry heavy loads with their sturdy frames, the donkey’s ability to climb rough terrain and navigate narrow trails in and around Cripple Creek made them an invaluable helper before more modern and mechanical transportation was available. After the modernization of the mining industry in the 1920s, the donkeys were set free to roam and became feral. Today’s Cripple Creek donkeys are more like pets, living in warmth and care during the winters and set free to roam every summer after a health check-up.

A Cripple Creek Tradition

Little girl on farm

Since they first took up residency at the beginning of the 21st century, the donkeys have been part of the Cripple Creek community. There is a level of respect for these friendly animals as they wander throughout the town, including no honking and allowing them to move about the community safely. They are checked by a veterinarian and farrier each year before being set loose in the little old mining town.

They are no longer used as beasts of burden but are now considered town pets. While donkeys are likely to eat anything handed to them, it is safest to stick to approved treats that can be purchased locally from the retail shops and museums in the area. Processed foods and carbs can make them sick, so visitors are asked to keep that in mind and not feed them chips, bread, popcorn, and cookies.

Stay and Play at Triple Crown Casinos

Ready to have even more fun after a day of donkey racing? Join us at Triple Crown Casinos for even more food, fun, and entertainment!

90th annual Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek Colorado on Highway 67 just south of town

Triple Your Rewards

The Triple Crown Casinos Triple Rewards Program is the best way to start the real fun, giving you access to exclusive rewards and events for playing at any of the three casinos below.

McGills Casino

McGills is a modern Irish-themed casino with lots of space and fun machines. The second level houses a variety of progressive machines, video poker, and slots. It overlooks the casino’s main floor, packed with several other games you’d like to play with a view.

The Brass Ass

The Brass Ass casino has a vintage Western feel inside and out, including the building facade and street lamps. Named after a painted wooden brass ass in the table games room, the Brass Ass Casino is a fun destination for those who want a more traditional environment.

Midnight Rose

For those who love the decadence of the Victorian era, the Midnight Rose casino is the place to be. The casino has two floors of more than 300 of the hottest slot machines, and the casino also features one of the most decorated gaming rooms across Cripple Creek.  Check out the only Poker Room in Cripple Creek here, too!

Ramblin Express

Ramblin Express bus with Midnight Rose pictured on the side

The best way to start your weekend is to leave the drive behind and take the Ramblin Express to Cripple Creek!  Relax and enjoy the beautiful summertime views from this luxury bus that serves Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Woodland Park.

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