2006-09-17

A Rocky Mountain Canary

John Hubert relates the following story of the Pioneer Zephyr's record-breaking 13-hour run from Denver to Chicago.
Colorado officials wanted to send along a "Rocky Mountain Canary" as a mascot to bring good luck to the trip. Train officials prepared for a bird cage in the baggage car. At the last minute the trainmen discovered that the Rocky Mountain Canary was really a burro. They hurriedly asked Mr. Budd what they should do. Mr. Budd looked around at the dignitaries and reporters who were preparing to board the train and replied, "Why not, one more jackass on this trip won't make any difference. Fix a pen in the baggage car."
A Rocky Mountain Canary was a burro that prospectors would use to carry their gear as they went into the mountains. The name was earned by the burros for their high-pitched cry from their perches high in the mountains.