Father-daughter donkey racing duo

Posted: Updated:
Emily and Bob McMahon will spend Memorial Day Weekend in Colorado kicking off the pack burro racing season. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Emily and Bob McMahon will spend Memorial Day Weekend in Colorado kicking off the pack burro racing season. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Emily and Bob McMahon run their donkeys almost daily in the hills above their home in Prescott. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Emily and Bob McMahon run their donkeys almost daily in the hills above their home in Prescott. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PRESCOTT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Bill McMahon has heard all the jokes. That doesn’t stop Bill and his daughter Emily from saddling up their two donkeys and taking to the hills high above their Prescott home.

“It is pretty funny when you go through the list of things we’ve been called,” joked Bill about the comments he mostly gets from fellow competitors.

Bill and his daughter Emily will spend Memorial Day Weekend in Colorado, kicking off 70 of the Western Pack Burro Racing Association “Hauling Ass.” 

The origin of the sport is under dispute. Some believe it started with two miners trying to race to file a gold claim. Others believe it was just an idea that came about after a long night at the saloon. Donkey racing is serious competition in the Southwest, with eight races scheduled for this summer.

“They’re just like big dogs,” said Emily, who just competed for Prescott High in the state track meet. “I wanted a horse since I was little. My dad told me about donkeys and how much fun they were as a kid. And I said ‘we gotta get a donkey.”

The donkey racing, father-and-daughter duo practice with their donkeys almost daily.

“Chewy, the lighter colored one. He doesn’t like any burro in front of him,” said Bill as he was saddling up the donkey for AZ Family photographer Sergio Hernandez

“Paco, he doesn’t seem to care. He’s just following Chewy, whatever Chewy does he does.”

Bill stumbled across the sports while googling better ways to saddle up Paco and Chewy. He and Emily raced their donkeys twice last summer and are hooked. The keys to racing success are patience and being able to carry a tune.

“You can’t make a donkey run by force. They’ve got to want to do it,” said Bill. “You’re running. You’re scratching them. You’re talking to them. These guys seem to like Roger Miller. Their ears turn back. They’re listening to you. And you’re trying to breathe because you’re at 9,000 feet. It’s a whole goofy thing.”

No matter if they’re “King of the Road” or barely finish, Bill and Emily are excited for their adventures this summer. Paco had no comment.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.