Makepung Buffalo Races
Makepung, derived from the word kepung meaning ‘chase’, is a unique tradition that originated from the agrarian life scene in Bali, Indonesia. Makepung is the name of a major annual racing event
It is a racing buffalo competition that are enjoyed by the Kaliakah Villagers of Jembrana Regency, west Bali, Indonesia. Buffalo pairs are teamed together with their jockeys riding the customary wood ploughs that are customized for the contest. It is a wild ride.
Before the race became popular in the 1930s, it took place on wet fields to facilitate the working of agricultural land. Now it takes place on dry land.
The race track is made up of 125 m of wet rice field with four pairs of buffalo compete in one round. It becomes more fun when the jockey falls and wallows on the muddy land during the traditional race.
The traditional event usually takes place in the early hours of the mornings of July to November at around 7:30. The race will last for at least five hours with the buffaloes divided into three racing categories.
There are seven circuits that are spread out in different locations in the entire district. The Sangyang Cerik circuit in the village of Tuwed, Melaya district is one of the main circuits. Other fields that are transformed into circuits are Delod Berawah, Pangkung Dalem, Tuwed, Awen and Kaliakah.
Before the day of the finals, teams gather in the Jembrana Regent to take part in the evening festivities full of art performances and public amusements, while on the days of the race, visitors from all over the world enjoy the buffalo fashion show were they dress up the buffaloes in different ornaments. There’s an award for the best dressed buffalo.
There are similar events held elsewhere, such as the pacu jawi cow race in Indonesia, and the Kambala buffalo races in southern India.
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