On 14 August, 2016 the people of Indonesia kicked off their annual Pacu Jawi bull racing competitions, granting spectators an opportunity to experience a unique cultural tradition.
The charging bulls raced across water, making splashes wherever they go.
Bull Racing is called Kerapan Sapi by the locals on the small island of Madura, Indonesia.
The sport events start from August to September–sometimes lasting until October. It’s usually after the rice harvests.
At this time, the proud animals are put to spectacular use in dramatic races held in towns throughout Madura. These races are held in rice fields or small stadiums throughout the island.
Preparations for the competition include harnessing two bulls together with a rider [jockey] balancing on a wooden board, known as a Kaleles, which is placed inbetween the two bulls.
The overall champion in the capital of the island, Pamekasan is always selected from the last race of the season conducted over long courses, averaging 120 meters long and 30 meters wide.
On the D-day, bull races are conducted in a series of elimination heats between winners and losers of preceding heats. Excitement mounts heat after heat and eventually two sets of winners are determined, the best of the losers and the best of the winners.
The grand finale are accompanied by traditional dance and music, and a generally festive atmosphere.
Even the most daring junkie would be forgiven for panicking at the sight of those competitors risking their lives for culture and tradition in the name of bull racing in Indonesia.
Balancing on just a rudimentary wooden frame and clinging to the animals’ tails, competitors are dragged by the two bulls across muddy fields in the most amazing cultural festival to celebrate the end of the rice harvesting season.
With their hands busy on their tails, the jockey holds on real tight as the bulls rage on.
To get the animals running faster, those riders attack their tails with painful bites.
Once a year, Indonesian bull breeders and buyers come together and trade their bulls in order to race. A great performance can lead to attract a higher price for those farmers that plan to sell breeding stock.
After each run the bulls are cleaned and herded into a display pen for the buyers to select which ones they’re interesed in keeping.
Thousands of spectators visit every year from far places to watch the exploits of those daring farmers.