Traditional buffalo racing came to Pattaya with a festival complete with parade, folk dancing, and horse competitions at Lake Mabprachan.
Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome and Nongprue Mayor Mai Chaiyanit opened the Aug. 21 event sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to bring buffalo races, popular for decades in Chonburi, to the Pattaya area.
Water buffalos proved to be remarkably quick, but alas lost most of the head to head races against riders on horseback during the races recently held at Mabprachan reservoir. The popular event, usually held in November with the annual longboat races, always draws a large crowd of fun-loving fans.
On the banks of the reservoir, cheerleaders from Kaan Aacheep School danced, burly men competed in tug of war games and, in the centerpiece attraction, miniature and large buffalos raced for glory. The races offered five awards with prizes ranging from 2,000 to 7,000 baht.
In the large miniature buffalo category, Anat Chaengcharoen and his buffalo “Ko” took first place. Somkiet Phumpuang, riding “Nok-khamin” placed second and Somchai Dumchai aboard “Saen” finished third.
The event begins with a buffalo drawn cart parade.
In the large buffalo bracket, Watchara Inthmaploi took “Ta-Waen” to the finish line first. Somsak Swasdeemongkhol, riding “Fah Mongkhol” won second and Somkiet Phumpuang aboard “Mai” placed third.
Horses also got their chance to race in both big barrel races and barrel runs. Prizes ranged from 1,500 to 5,000 baht.
The race is on!
The winner of the big barrel racing was “Batman.” “Regent” finished second and “Hurricane” third. In the barrel run, “Kaew” placed first, followed by “Hunsa” and “Ruay.”
Buffalos and horses also got to race each other. To the surprise of few, horses beat buffalos 2-to-1. The cattle team’s sole win came in the 80-meter run, which saw the leading horse fall 7-8 meters behind the bull.
A very enthusiastic jockey makes his way towards the finish line.
Men on horseback prepare to join the fun.
Men test their meddle in the tug of war competition.