WPBA Board of Directors

WPBA Board of Directors

Eric Lynn, President

Eric Lynn grew up riding, training, showing and working cattle on quarter horses.  He acquired a pair of BLM burros and fell in love with these intelligent, affectionate equines. He quickly realized donkeys were not "horses with long ears" and set out to learn a different approach to training these highly intelligent equines. Eric has established himself as a donkey wrangler and trainer that utilizes these wonderful critters in a multitude of ways. He has trained "wild" burros to ride, pack, drive and burro race in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Melanie Layton, Vice-President

Like many burro racers, it was finishing the Leadville Trail 100 Run that eventually led Melanie on a path of seeking the next crazy Colorado thing to add to her bucket list. Prior to even running with a donkey, the Wann’s contacted her about an opportunity to adopt two donkeys through the Equine Rescue Network and the rest is history.

Melanie grew up in the Midwest and has lived in Conifer, CO for 20 years. She and her husband Kent, have three children (Sierra, Chase and Dane), dog Grover, cat Trucker and of course the donkeys, “Team Top Gun”—Maverick and Goose.

As a co-owner of Colorado’s longest-standing lobbying firm, Colorado Legislative Strategies, Melanie hopes to use her connections to help obtain funding and recognition for Colorado’s Official Summer Heritage Sport. Melanie joined the board last year as a way of giving back to so many people in this community that have helped her since adopting her burros two years ago. Her favorite aspect is seeing so many unwanted burros adopted and someday hopes to have a burro rescue in Salida, CO where she and her family spend much of their time.

Joe Polonsky, Treasurer

Joe grew up in Southern California where he spent all of his free time playing baseball. Joe moved to Colorado in 1987 and eventually ended up joining the Air Force, where he served for 8 years. He is also an accomplished athlete, having completed the infamous Leadman race series, which includes finishing the Leadville Trail 100 Run and Mountain Bike Race just a week apart. It was after the 2017 mountain bike race that Joe and his wife, Kim, stopped in Buena Vista for lunch and saw their first burro race. Shortly after that, they adopted their first burro, Tin Cup, who was only four months old and two months later, adopted another BLM burro, Jake. Since then, their family has grown significantly to “countless children” including six burros, five horses, seven goats, one llama, three pigs, five dogs, and a lot of chickens and cats.

Dodger, Joe’s chocolate Labrador and he are a registered animal therapy team through Pet Partners where they have visited many hospitals and senior centers. Joe and Kim are working on developing a non-profit centered around animal therapy activities.

One of Joe’s main goals for serving on the board is to help people understand that Donkeys/burros are not stubborn animals as they are often portrayed to be. They have reasons for acting the way they do and believe it or not, they do love to run. Joe hopes to spread the word about the great sport of burro racing and to educate the public on the animals and the sport.

Lisa Sandoval, Secretary

After Lisa’s husband Marvin ran his first burro race in 2018, their family (which includes four children—Reilly, Jaxon, Jules and Calvin), set off to Arizona to adopt a BLM burro but of course came back with two. Shortly after, they adopted three mini-burros from New Mexico. One of the burros (Buttercup) became the first ever mini-burro to win the Triple Crown series in 2019.  Marvin and Buttercup won the triple crown again in 2020 during the unique and unprecendented racing season.  They now have three mini burros: Buttercup, Peaches and Nugget who reside with them in Leadville, CO.

This season, Lisa is looking forward to racing with Peaches in the shorter races and cheering her husband on as he prepares to defend the Triple Crown title.  Lisa will also be training to complete the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race for the 5th time.

One of Lisa’s main goals in serving on the board is to promote this sport and provide education about how awesome donkeys really are. She hopes to see pack burro racing continue to gain popularity as well as the increasing trend of rescuing and adopting donkeys.

Brad Wann, Media Relations

Anyone who has heard of burro racing, has heard of Brad Wann and his family. For the past 10 years, Brad has been a tireless advocate and spokesperson for the sport.

Burro racing is more than a hobby for the Wann family—it’s a way of life. Past-WPBA President Blair Smith and his wife Claudia, Brad’s in-laws, were the impetus for getting Brad’s wife, Amber, then Brad himself, signed up for their first burro race in 2009. Since then, the Wann’s four children (Emily, Bonnie, Bailey and Benjamin) have also competed in many races. The family lives in Highland Ranch and keeps their herd of 12 burros in Douglas County. In addition to Brad’s work as a furniture master, he and Amber are owners of Colorado Burro Rentals, which provides burro rentals and instruction for new racers, along with Rocky Mountain Beverage Burro, where burros serve drinks at weddings and events. As if that wasn’t a big enough contribution to the burro racing community, the family has been placing rescued burros with Colorado families and helping them train for burro races. There are few in the pack burro racing community that have not been touched by the kindness and guidance of the Wann family.

Brad is the longest serving board member and brings a wealth of knowledge and history to the board. He is an outspoken advocate of growing the sport and ensuring there are plenty of “jobs for these critters”. He was instrumental in the passage of House Joint Resolution HJR12-1021, to make Western Pack Burro Racing Colorado’s Official Summer Heritage Sport.