A new documentary directed by noted filmographer Michael Moore explores the infamous invasion of burros on the campus of Colorado School of Mines in the early 1900s. As the film recounts, the local burro population didn’t take lightly the use of their likeness by the school’s athletic department and thus the invasion began…
It was a day like any other. A run of the mill day. No strange whisperings around town, at least not at first. There was a slight breeze due south-southeast, the blaring sun shown in the center of the blue sky, Clear Creek churned along, chalk full of the usual snowmelt. The occasional rumble of a motor car wheezed past. Golden was picturesque on this unassuming day in the middle of one of the unexceptional early autumn months. Students and staff alike would soon emerge from the baroque halls of Old Main, an ounce more studious but none-the-wiser to the threat brewing just beyond the horizon. The first sign of trouble came not from distant screams or any rumbling of hooves but rather the ramblings of the campus astrologer, and self-proclaimed prophet of the school’s newsprint, Homar Johnson. Printer delays meant that the paper didn’t arrive until very near knocking off time that day of all days. And so, when the time came that Orediggers young, very young, old, and very old swung their satchels closed, buffeted their boots and loafers, and flicked alive the devil’s smoke, they were confronted with a most unsettling array of characters and figures on the front page of the campus daily prophet, The Oredigger. An unspoken consensus quickly formed of that rather unusual Johnson fellow and his rather unusual column. His piece ran in part:
Disillusioned by his fellow Orediggers dismissal (he’d thought his classmates more clever), Johnson made his way back towards the first-years’ accommodations. As he rounded the corner, he found the pathway blocked by a burro. Thinking nothing of it, he cut across the campus commons only to be met by a pair of burros. He turned to travel another way and quickly realized that there was little hope of escape. The burros had been strategic in their attack. They blocked the woodlands paths, sidewalks, roadways, and even several mountain trails with the help of a few UC Boulder recruits rearing to take a jab at a few prankster seniors.
Soon enough (just long enough for the lawns and shrubs to receive a goof trimming of course), President Alderson was forced from his office and made to read the burro’s demands, most important of which went, “Wear thee image with pride and fight with the head and heart of a Miner to protect thee. Vow to recognize such agreement in stone and mortar from this time forth or risk further consequence.” In short, the Oredigger’s agreed to the terms.
Satisfied with the arrangement, the burros made haste back to the hills from whence they came.
Now, you may see a burro on campus a time or two a semester, if you are lucky, but it’s not us who summons them, they are monitoring us.