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Coffin racing: the yearly death rattle dash through Manitou

Posted at 9:07 PM, Oct 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-27 23:07:47-04

What gathers thousands of costumed racing enthusiasts to Southern Colorado each and every year during October to participate in a kind of death rattle dash through the streets of Manitou?

It’s the 24th annual Emma Crawford Coffin Race!

The event is based off the legend of Emma Crawford who, before dying in Manitou, requested to be buried up atop Red Mountain (a bordering peak).

After being buried on the slope, a torrential rain storm passed through and it turned out she was not buried deeply enough.

One telling of the legend goes as follows:

“Much of the mountainside washed away, including Emma’s remains and her coffin. Two boys playing in Ruxton Canyon found the nameplate and the silver handles from her casket.”

So now, the town of Manitou comes together each fall to “Celebrate the infamous tale of Emma Crawford through the Emma Crawford Wake, Parade and Coffin Races,” according to the Manitou Chamber of Commerce.

This year, the event again gathered thousands. Spectators lined the streets and teams of racers sped down the middle; with each group hoping to take home the gold and also just have some good ol’ coffin racing fun.