SPCA, Humane Society Inspect

60 to Compete in Derby at Pioneertown

PIONEERTOWN – Sixty burros, which will be competing in the 12 annual National Burro Derby starting Aug.5, were inspected here Tuesday by officials of the Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Southern California Humane Society.

Pronouncing the animals in good physical shape were George M. Crosier, general manager of the two societies, and Clyde F. Miles, chief investigator and state humane officer. The officials also oversee the association’s provisions for caring and equipping the burros, loading and unloading the animals at the start and finish of each day, etc.

On hand to go over all details of the three-day race and handling of the animals were William Snyder, Big Bear Lake, president of the Old Miner’s Association, Inc.; Robert Freeman, Big Bear Lake, publisher-editor of the “Old Miner’s Gazette”; and Samuel A Moore, Pioneertown activities chairman.

Miles will be in charge of the Humane Society detail which will accompany the wranglers and burros, it was stated. Two of his men will cover the field on horseback. In addition, it was reported, an officer from Barstow’s United Humane Society will also participate.

The Old Miner’s association of Big Bear Lake and Old Miners’s Association of Pioneertown cosponsors of the burro derby, are anxious to clarify some of the confusion and misconceptions on the part of animal-lovers who have protested the race on the grounds that it was a form of cruelty to animals. This is definitely not the case as the association’s rules and regulations and those drawn up by the LASPCA and Southern California Humane Society are strictly enforced. If there are infractions of the rules the wrangler will be disqualified and fined.

Each burro in the race must be sponsored. As each wrangler and sponsor signs up, he is provided with the four-page rules and regulations from the association and the one-page rules and regulations from the society.

Regarding the treatment of the burros, the association’s rules state: “Burros shall not be treated with brutality or abuse under any conditions, mechanical or electrical “gimmicks” or other means which injure or abuse a burro, are strictly forbidden. The making of noise is permitted if it is not offensive to other wranglers or passers-by, or if it does not interfere with another wrangler’s burro. In no event shall noise be of harsh or unreasonable nature, such as cannon shots, gun-shots or horn-honking. Burros may be coaxed with the use of food.”

Further protection is afforded by the society’s rules, which state: “Pack must fit burro properly with adequate padding so as to prevent rubbing and causing raw sores, and pack must not exceed current weight of approximately 15 pounds. Rope halter and lead must be used on each burro entered in race.

“No instruments or gimmicks of any type may be used to force the burros to walk in the race, and wranglers may not use the end of the lead rope to whip the burro, which many cause bruising. Food, however, may be used to coax the burros along the trail of the race. All wranglers to be given a copy of the rules and regulations regarding the race, and particularly all rules governing the manner in which the burros are to be handled during the race.

“Should it become necessary to disqualify any entry in the race due to misuse of the burro, the decision of the state humane officer of the SPCA will be final. This in no way, is to be construed as interference with other rules and regulations as set forth by the Association governing the race. The Old Miner’s Association must accept all such rules and regulations as set forth and same be entered in the minutes of the Board of Directors, and a copy of such minutes of the Board be submitted to the SPCA signed by the president and secretary of the Association.”

Punitive action has been taken into account in the case of any infraction. The regulations provide: “The willful violations of rules and regulations by wranglers and/or sponsors warrant punitive action. This action may be as follows: (1) Verbal warning (2) 15-minute time forfeiture (3) 30-minute time forfeiture (4) One-hour time forfeiture (5) Disqualification or elimination.

“Officials wearing badges will not infractions of rules and regulations and at any time may give verbal warnings. If the incident is of a nature which warrants greater punitive action than a warning, the official will immediately advise the wrangler of the violation witnessed by him, and the official will advise further that action may be taken. The official will immediately present the case to the judges.

“A panel of five judges (each wearing an arm band of distinctive color) will make punitive decisions for each day of the race. Their names will be announced prior to each day’s start. Judges will have full authority to render decisions on all infractions of rules and regulations, and their decisions will be final. Their authority applies to all matters ruled by common sense and decency and to any situation which might arise not covered by official rules and regulations.”

The winning wranglers, who obviously exhibited good sportsmanship all the way, will be rewarded by cash prizes. Final first place winner will receive $500; second place, $200; third place, $100; and the next seven places, $20 each.

July 29, 1965 - The San Bernardino County Sun article clipping