Berapan-Kebo_002

Berapan Kebo or Buffalo Racing in Sumbawa

Story and photos by Maxby Chan

Berapan Kebo or buffalo racing is a cultural event in Pulau Sumbawa, Indonesia. This event takes place at the start of the rice planting season. This is to ensure that the farmers have a bountiful harvest. We organised a photosafari trip to Sumbawa to witness this event in August 2017.

The event starts with the village elder conducting a blessing ceremony on the bulls. The Buffaloes are decorated and paraded in front of the spectators. The village elder then plants a stick in the field. This stick is called “sakar”. The objective of the race is for the jockey to guide a pair of bulls to hit the sakar at the end of the field. Those buffaloes that do not hit the sakar are disqualified. The winner is the jockey who can guide the pair of buffaloes to hit the saker the shortest time.

This event is so different from the Pacu Jawi event held in Padang. This is a cultural event still practiced in Sumbawa. Villagers in the neighbourhood would bring their buffaloes to join this event in hope of achieving the glory of the best pair of buffaloes in the County. This event is not actively promoted outside Sumbawa and still very raw in the photographer’s perspective. If you are interested to witness this event, watch out for our announcement for next year’s session.

The buffaloes were dressed for the race and blessed by the village elder.

The buffaloes were dressed for the race and blessed by the village elder.

It was dressed in colorful head gear before the race.

It was dressed in colorful head gear before the race.

A stick or "Sakar" was inserted into the ground by the village elder. The objective of the race is to guide a pair of racing bulls to hit the sakar. Any race that fails to do so is disqualified.

A stick or “Sakar” was inserted into the ground by the village elder. The objective of the race is to guide a pair of racing bulls to hit the sakar. Any race that fails to do so is disqualified.

The first set of buffaloes and the jockey are lead the course of the race.

The first set of buffaloes and the jockey are lead through the course of the race.

The race starts when the jockey has mounted the york holding the two buffaloes together.

The race starts when the jockey has mounted the yoke holding the two buffaloes together.

The jockey was trying to steer the pair of buffaloes to hit the sakar.

The jockey was trying to steer the pair of buffaloes to hit the sakar.

 

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