Bali’s buffalo racers follow to keep tradition alive

This design taken on Jul 31, 2016 shows dual bulls pulling a transport as they contest in a ‘Makepung’ or longhorn foe with domestic H2O buffaloes in Jembrana district on Bali island. — AFP picBALI, Sept 4 — Wearing crowns and charming horn coverings, a buffaloes transport wooden carts during high speed past paddy fields on Bali, with a racers aboard enormous whips in a bid to lift their beasts on to victory.

Hundreds of spectators hearten from a sidelines, anticipating their group will come out on tip in a annual festival on a Indonesian island suggestive of chariot racing.

The buffalo racing, famous as “Makepung”, pits dual tillage communities opposite any other in western Jembrana district, in a tradition that outlines a rice harvesting season.

A universe divided from a renouned traveller hangouts serve south on a island, a races are an grand philharmonic that see participants mount on speeding carts with flags whipping from a top, as dual buffaloes lift any of a easy vehicles.

But a races, that have been hold annually for decades, are descending out of foster — unchanging competitors are now aged and few of a younger villagers are penetrating to take adult a sport.

“I am aged now, and there is no new generation,” pronounced Kadek Nuraga, 51, who has been racing for a West Ijo Gading encampment for over 35 years.

“Many of a comparison racers would like to retire, some are already over 60, though they simply don’t have many choice. Somebody needs to safety a tradition.”

Ageing racers

Nowadays younger people tend to leave Jembrana once they have reached adolescence in hunt of improved preparation in cities, and encampment elders protest that those who stay are some-more meddlesome in personification video games than a high-speed buffalo races.

One of Nuraga’s sons, now aged 27, has already left his village, and he is training his neighbour’s teenage son during a weekends so he can take adult a reins of a foe in a future.

But training a good aspirant takes time and a comparison a aspirant gets, a easier it is for him to tumble off a speeding cart, pronounced Makepung arch organiser Made Mara. Some maestro racers have even died after acrobatics off speeding carts.

There is such a shortfall of people wanting to take partial some teams are carrying to sinecure racers, pronounced Komang Hendra, Jembrana tourism chief.

But this costs 100,000 rupiah (US$7.50 or RM31) per race, a large sum in a nation where many acquire a homogeneous of dual to 3 dollars a day.

Still for many Jembrana residents a investment is inestimable due to a intensity financial gain.

The standard esteem income for any event of a Makepung foe is 25 million rupiah though that is separate among a whole winning team, mostly done adult of 1-200 people.

But a value of a span of winning animals tends to soar on a internal marketplace and some can strech prices of 175 million rupiah.

Decades of tradition

The Makepung tradition started in a 1960s when dual communities on possibly side of a Ijo Gading stream took a rival proceed to operative their fields, with farmers racing any other as they laboured.

What started off as a bit of fun developed into a critical foe and now a communities margin teams any year for a racing season.

The deteriorate runs from Jul to November, with races roughly any fortnight, and this year concerned about 300 H2O buffaloes.

The competitors from a West Ijo Gading group dress in immature and accoutre their carts with immature flags, while those from a East Gading Team use a colour red.

A foe day customarily lasts about 5 hours, with countless races that any typically see one transport from any encampment hurtling down a lane that measures about 1,500 metres.

There are 4 categories, with buffaloes deemed a fastest in a initial category. One of a communities is announced a leader during a finish of a day’s racing.

While a foe does not captivate tourists in a same numbers as Bali’s palm-fringed beaches, any foe day customarily attracts foreigners, in further to many locals.

For many Jembranese, a financial gains are only a reward and a genuine captivate is a prestige.

“It’s not indeed winning a esteem that matters — there’s a certain honour and status if we win Makepung,” pronounced tourism arch Hendra. — AFP



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