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"Get behind him and push." "Come on, pull," they would shout. "Twist his tail." "Good work, Dick." "Whisper in his ear." The sun was low when Tex and Margaret corralled the last of the burros.
In the days that followed the great burro race a storm swept across the western country. Skies darkened over Beatty, and a cold wind whistled through the streets of the little town. While Tex fought the wind to bring the burros back to the ranch, Beatty residents sat around the Exchange Club discussing the great venture in somber tones.
"The way our boys stuck to it when they knew they didn't have a chance to win should be an inspiration to all of us," said one.
"A project of this size is usually undertaken by a town 10 times the size of ours," said Mel Eads.
They admitted their mistakes and, above all, they agreed that next year the race will not be run to Stovepipe Wells. Instead it will be run around Beatty, preferably with each day's run starting and ending right in front of the Exchange Club. They vowed that if the boys from Apple Valley dare to come back for next year's race they will be in for some surprises. Training programs are already under discussion. There was even talk of forming a burro-racing association and staging intersectional meets.
"We could easily establish a new national sport," said Mel Eads. "I think burros should be brought back into the public eye."
As they talked, their voices blending with the purr of the slot machines and the whining wind, it became as plain as the ears on a burro that the spirit of the Old West, the spirit that made Tonopah, Goldfield and Rhyolite, is not dead. It survives among the 385 beaten but unbowed inhabitants of Beatty, Nevada.