JEMBRANA CUP 2016

 

All competitors are excited. The crowd is positioned along Tuwed circuit to watch the Makepung Final Cup, the yearly Buffalo’s Race which is held in the Jembrana Regency - West Bali.

The water buffalo, called Kerbau Pepa, are decorated with garlands of flowers and picturesque golden crowns. They are strong. They are fighters. Trained by their jockeys that, riding traditional wooden plows, slightly modified for the competition, are preparing themselves to complete the race of their lives.

On the eve of the finals - the Governor's Cup and the Jembrana Cup - there is a gathering among the racing teams called sekaa makepung with the Jembrana regent, followed by great celebrations and dances.

The races, which take place between July and November, are one of the unique traditions stemmed from the agrarian life scene of the island and prevented the shift of land, for farming use to bulding use, as well as helping to promote tourism to this far flung western location.

Children have placed themselves on the few trees that surround the circuit, to shelter from the sweltering heat and get a better view of the challenge. All are ready for the “Kepung”, the "Hunting". Some men with whips and spiked sticks incite buffaloes on the starting line and hit them with force to make them leave.

A dusty cloud raises and engulfs everybody. Someone is so close to the buffaloes that is likely to be overwhelmed by the hooves galloping. The jockeys don’t refrain and whizz around the track trying to pass the cart in front of them. Hundreds of Water Buffaloes challenge for hours, spurred by the screaming crowd.

It 's a party for everybody: the children play with kites, the elders wave their sticks to the passage of each competitor, the women prepare fried chicken and walk among the audience with hot drinks. The refrigerator is a luxury in these latitudes and the warm sun of November has already melted all the ice blocks, but nobody seems to complain.

Men are only concentrated on the race, lighting one cigarette after another and waiting the Buffalo Racers at the finish line. And how everything started, so it ends with some new winners. The jockeys go back to be farmers, the Buffaloes, acclaimed as kings, are stripped of their crowns and brought to the range. The circuits, animated for one day, get back to be only the green rice fields that colour the Island of the Gods.

Written by Sarah Falchi - Photos by Paolo Castellari

POMPON
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Image Title: POMPON

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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A PACIFIC BULL
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Image Title: A PACIFIC BULL

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE SPECTATORS
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Image Title: THE SPECTATORS

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE WALKING STICK
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Image Title: THE WALKING STICK

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE PROCLAMATION
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Image Title: THE PROCLAMATION

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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READY FOR THE RACE
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Image Title: READY FOR THE RACE

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE HOOKED STICK
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Image Title: THE HOOKED STICK

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE RACER
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Image Title: THE RACER

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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SPUR
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Image Title: SPUR

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE BEST VIEW
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Image Title: THE BEST VIEW

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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RISK YOUR LIFE
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Image Title: RISK YOUR LIFE

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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DUST CLOUD
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Image Title: DUST CLOUD

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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FASTER
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Image Title: FASTER

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE WHIP
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Image Title: THE WHIP

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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WAITING
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Image Title: WAITING

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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MOVE QUICKLY
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Image Title: MOVE QUICKLY

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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DIRTY WORK
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Image Title: DIRTY WORK

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE INSTANT
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Image Title: THE INSTANT

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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THE GRID
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Image Title: THE GRID

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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TUWED CIRCUIT
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Image Title: TUWED CIRCUIT

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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ONLY ONE WINNER
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Image Title: ONLY ONE WINNER

Location: BALI - JEMBRANA

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