The Emma Crawford Coffin Races at Manitou Springs, CO are a Halloween tribute to the late Emma Crawford who died of tuberculosis before her wedding bells could ring back in 1880. However, this was not before she had requested to her fiancee to bury her on top of Red Mountain if she should pass away before their big day.
Years later her coffin was excavated and moved to a new location on the south slope of the mountain due to a railroad construction project. Well, the harsh weather conditions began to take their toll over the next several years, and erosion was slowly ‘unburing’ the casket and preparing Emma for the last big ride of her life, err I should rather say, ‘death.’
One evening after a pelting rainstorm, her coffin was completely unleashed down the mountain depositing her remains into a canyon near town where she was later discovered by a group of young boys. And now every year in memory of that event, 10,000 people gather to see friends, family, co-workers and complete strangers speed down the main street of Manitou Springs while ‘resting’ in makeshift caskets with wheels.
These ‘casket go-carts’ are delivered to the event in authentic hearses and are made up of five team members (one Emma and four runners). Each race lasts only a matter of seconds (195 yards), but the winners of the event walk away with a year’s worth of praise and a trophy to cherish for the remainder of their own life.
This year, the 2015 Coffin Races celebrated its 21st birthday… and these (below) are some of the highlights. Who knows, maybe next year we’ll compete!
Who ever said there had to be dignity in glory!