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.