Saddle up, buckaroos

Longtime Friend of the Blog Hal Walter got a little teevee time on the Tube of You recently when Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the American Trail Running Association, popped round to his place with a videographer in tow.

Nancy wanted to chat about burro racing, which Hal has been doing for more than 40 years, winning seven world championships along the way. So naturally he had a few thoughts on the topic.

The video is a three-parter. The first is up top, and you can catch the others here and here.

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26 Responses to “Saddle up, buckaroos”

  1. Pat O’Brien Says:

    That was interesting. Looks like Harrison knows what he is doing!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yep, Harrison is coming up on 17 years of age this month, and he and Hal have been running together for quite a while. Kid runs track and cross country, and runs with burros because Pop has four of them and so why not? But I don’t know that he’s ever done an actual burro race.

      I did one, a 10K in Weirdcliffe back in 1998 or thereabouts, and that was plenty for me. The burro knew he was dealing with a poser and behaved accordingly. I could’ve sworn I heard him snort, “Hmph. Tourist.”

      You’ll also see Hal’s wife, Mary, in that video. Third installment, I believe, the one where Hobbs loses her ass. Heee hawwwwwww.

    • SAO' Says:

      Can’t find the video as a stand-alone, but scroll to 28:30 for the promo video featuring Harrison.

      • SAO' Says:

        Still can’t find the stand-alone version. The cool thing was, YouTube uses the frame at the middle of the video for their preview picture, and in the original, that just happened to be Harrison.

      • Shawn Says:

        Wow that’s cool about Harrison ! It’s really satisfying when technology is more than just a toy and can really benefit someone so that their life is more enjoyable.

        Note, I’m not really picking on technology; just on how it can become too much of a toy that rules our lives.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Harrison is an Apple fiend. He has all the iStuff, and bought most of it (as far as I know) with his own money. Kid even got a new Apple Watch and gave the old one to his dad. That hand-me-down action usually goes in the other direction, yeah?

  2. SAO' Says:

    Interestingly, Colorado doesn’t have an official state sport. But it does have a “summer heritage sport,” which gets burro racing on the same Wikipedia page as Maryland’s jousting and Alaska’s dog mushing.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      If you’ve never seen a burro race in person it’s worth the time and effort, especially one of the big ones like Fairplay or Leadville.

      The best part is the start, which is pure madness, especially when there are a bunch of noobs in the race. The finish can be entertaining, too. Sometimes the burros are less interested than their human teammates in accommodating a crowd of hollering spectators.

      If you can get up the course a ways to some challenging spot, that can be worthwhile too, but you never know when the simple acts of observation and encouragement are going to send some twitchy jackass sideways.

      The burros can be overly sensitive too. Heeeeee hawwwwwwww.

  3. SAO' Says:

    For the photogs out there:

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Nice. That’s getting some attention from my old newspaper mates, the ones who are cyclists.

      Note the manly vehicle, with minirack up front and larger rack at rear, mudguards, bar-end shifters, etc. It could be right out of the Rivendell catalog.

    • B Lester Says:

      Thank you for that link SAO. That was a lovely interlude in my otherwise banal morning. Cheers!

      • SAO' Says:

        I lost a good hour on his Instagram page. Nice of the NYT to put the whole thing together.

        • B Lester Says:

          I’ve been an amateur for long time. I was the kid with the darkroom in the basement. When I retire is a few, I hope to try to get to something close to this. I’m sure I won’t…

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        My faves in the NYT gallery are the second (the Weald), third (Edward Hopper), and the last (moonset over the marsh). “Sea mist” and “Battery Hill” are pretty fuggin’ cool too.

        I wish he’d told us something about his camera(s) and his bicycle. Y’know, the tech stuff. There should be a sidebar with all the deets for the geeks.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          Well, it’s a lugged steel frame. Bravo there. Square taper crankset, but I don’t recognize the brand. And, of course, the Brooks torture device on the seat post. All in all, nice. I’m betting the camera ain’t a Sony.

          • SAO' Says:

            His Instagram page tags Brooks and Rapha a lot.

          • Herb from Michigan Says:

            Much to my surprise I mounted my old Brooks “torture device” to my Rivendell and lo and behold! It worked out better than any other saddle I’ve tried. It sure as hell didn’t when on various drop bar bikes previously. I was sure that sitting upright on it would cause some thunder down under but damned if it isn’t comfy for 16 mile jaunts. And me arse is retreating so me have’s not the padding of a young lad no more.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            The Brooks saddles have moods. Sometimes they’re nice to you, but occasionally they decide you need a little discipline.

            “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”

          • DownhillBill Says:

            I prefer saddles from a more recent century. My friend Jack describes the Brooks as “Heavy, expensive, and uncomfortable – the ideal bike component.” He has them on all his fleet.

        • Shawn Says:

          Leica fixed lens. No digital bits, just some good Kodachrome. That would be my taste of shooting pleasure. But then I’d need a time machine to along with that desire..

          • DownhillBill Says:

            Someone should create a Kodachrome app for the iPhone. KII color and K64+ speed.

          • SAO' Says:

            That’s exactly where iOS apps over-shoot the mark. Filters are a dime a dozen, but they’re all so over-the-top.

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