CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — Cripple Creek’s beloved donkey herd has been cleared by veterinarians and farriers in preparation for their annual release from their winter pasture.

The Two Mile High Club, who act as caretakers for the donkeys, recently spent the day with veterinarian Dr. James Wright as well as farriers Cassie Krzeczowski and Megan Legacy in order to prepare the donkeys to roam the streets. Now that they have had their health check-ups and treatment, the donkeys will be escorted to the edge of town to range free until October.

The donkeys are a delight to locals and visitors alike, and the annual release is a fan-favorite event. Everyone is invited to attend the release at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 15. The release begins at the donkey winter enclosure located at 600 Teller County highway 89, southwest of Cripple Creek. Visitors can also welcome the two newest members of the herd, Calypso and Salsa.

The Two Mile High Club has also announced this year’s Donkey Derby Day will take place on August 13, 2022. People from all over the world descend to downtown Cripple Creek to be inspired by the town’s resident donkey herd, believed to be distant relatives of the original donkeys from the Gold Rush days.

This year there will be three race heats with a final top 5 final race. Beyond the races, Donkey Derby Day includes a plethora of other fun events and activities, including beer and food tents, vendors, a parade, and a special John Denver tribute concert at 5:00 p.m. with Ted Vigil.

Curt Sorenson, President of the Two Mile High Club, said, “This year, following COVID-19, is special because President Teddy Roosevelt (aka Steve Smith) will be on hand to speak and to facilitate [the donkeys’] release as he did in 1901. At that time, donkeys were the primary source of motive power in deep underground mines and lived under inhumane conditions, never seeing the light of day. Much has changed. These donkeys are well cared for and loved like town pets!”