Buffalo racing festival is an annual event held in Chonburi province, Thailand. It marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the harvest. This tradition has lasted more than 140 years.
Every October, tourists and Thai people change to Chonburi province, which is 80 km southwest of Bangkok, to watch the traditional buffalo race. For fair competition, the buffaloes will be classified according to size, including 5 categories from small to cans. The race takes place on a straight 135 meter long dirt road in a drag racing style. Drag is a short distance race, usually only 2 people / car / buffalo compete.
Like other buffalo fighting festivals, the buffalo racing in Chonburi is always well cared for. The buffalo is being washed cleanly before entering the test race.
The festival originated in the 19th century, when farmers wanted to express their gratitude to the animals who worked with them in the farm. Before the festival takes place, buffaloes will be trained on a model race to get acquainted.
Mr. Anan Chalermlarb is one of the famous people at Chonburi’s buffalo racing festival. He has spent 45 years with this event, starting as a racer and now a buffalo owner with many awards.
There are about 8 to 12 buffalo racing events taking place in Thailand every year, but the Chonburi race is the oldest and most important one. The reputation of the race makes the riders and buffalo owners always have a good preparation. Drivers often maintain close relationships with their companions.
Because the race takes place only on a straight line of 135 meters, it is important to have a good pa-pa. A water buffalo can weigh up to 1 ton and controlling this animal is not an easy task. The riders, meanwhile, had no accessories except a piece of rope and a whip.
Collisions can also occur on the track. Whenever this happens, the riders are most at risk when the buffalo weighing tons can rush to them at any time.
The maximum speed that a buffalo can reach is about 50 km / h. This makes balancing on the back of this animal very simple, and only experienced riders can steer the heavy buffaloes. And like drag races, the distance between a winner and a loser is sometimes just a moment.