June 30, 2008 — A large crowd showed up at the Paul E. Joseph Stadium in Federiksted on Sunday for the Third Annual Emancipation Day Classic donkey races, and they were treated to some very exciting races, some very errant donkeys and even a bucking contest.
The Gentlemen of Jones in conjunction with Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Emancipation Committee put on a great show, but even the hosts were surprised by the days turnout. When asked what he thought of this years event, Gentlemen of Jones spokesman, Fernando Webster exclaimed, This year? Man, this year was better than last year, it was twice as good and it is going to be better next year.
"We did not anticipate the crowd that showed up today, right, but we know now that we have something going on and next year is going to be better, twice as good as this year."
From the warm-ups prior to the first race, the donkeys showed that they had no intentions of cooperating with the rider without putting up a fight. The laughter that would set the tone for the days activities rattled the rafters of the old stadium before the first race even got under way, as many of the riders had trouble getting on their mounts.
After Duncan Coles and Donkey Hotay crossed the finished line to claim the first race, the second place donkey did not cross until some 10 to 15 minutes later.
Donkeys were all over the place. Race coordinator Sue Lakos had her hands full keeping riders and donkeys together, and many of her assistants could be seen chasing loose donkeys all afternoon.
Although there were quite a number of hard spills on Sunday, luckily no serious medical problems resulted.
Race two was a race for females only and was won by Lindsey Black riding Hot Stuff.
Race three was a relay race that went to the team of AJ, Stuart and Chibe.
Race four, for the men of Gentlemen of Jones only, went to Fernando Webster Jr., riding Charlie T, who just barely beat his father at the wire.
Humberto Diaz took first place in race five riding Ridin Dirty.
After Shomari Willis showed off his riding skills by staying the longest on a bucking donkey, it was time for the Jack Ass Cup, the featured race of the day. It turned out to be no contest as Steadroy Pentas aboard Ridin Dirty easily took home the days top trophy.
There was something for the little kids as well as Steve Odea operated a donkey cart ride that proved to be as much a hit as the donkey races.
Emancipation celebrations on St. Croix continue through next Sunday. (See: "Lead Up to Emancipation Day Starts June 29.")
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