Most people are familiar with a horse race, but what about a buffalo race? This entertaining sport is held each year in Thailand. Thousands of locals and tourists flocked to watch the event.
On Friday thousands of people gathered at a dusty track in Chonburi to watch the annual water buffalo races.
As the whistle sounded, the race kicked off with the barefoot jockeys using their whip to steer the buffalo along the track to the finish line.
For some jockeys it takes years to learn how to control the water buffalo.
[Wanlop Saengkam, Jockey]:
“It’s difficult. We have to practice regularly to control the buffalos. It takes a long time to do this, sometimes it takes years to be able to ride it, and you also have to love it otherwise you won’t be able to control them.”
The festival started as a social event for farmers who gathered after the rice harvesting season every October. It was an informal celebration for buffalo.
[Chonburi Padipat Saeng-ngern, Spectator]:
“I think if it doesn’t take long and the racing doesn’t take place everyday then it should be okay (for buffalos). This event is a fun time for villagers and it’s only once a year. People are excited and having fun.”
The festival has attracted hundreds of local spectators and tourists to Chonburi every year, and the event has been running for 139 years.
About 63 buffalo joined the day-long racing, competing in four categories — very small, small, medium and big.
The animals were trained for four days a week over a few months before entering the races.
The winning jockey and buffalo will receive a cash reward.
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