Makepung Buffalo Races:
Makepung is the name of a major grand prix in Jembrana, West Bali, which features racing buffalo races.
Hundreds of pairs of buffaloes are teamed up together with their jockeys.
They ride the traditional wooden ploughs that are slightly modified for the competition.
The racer buffaloes, or kerbau pepadu, compete in various open race circuits in assorted heats.
These series of competitions are held around the district of Melaya.
They lead up to the finals, known as the Jembrana Regent’s Cup and the Governor’s Cup.
Makepung is derived from the base word of kepung, meaning ‘chase’, similar to the expression ‘steeplechase’.
Makepung is one of the unique traditions stemmed from the agrarian life scene of the islan.
It’s a widely enjoyed event in the regency of Jembrana, west Bali.
The grand-scale events inspired from such a simple,traditional pastime preserves the unique traditions of this part of the island. It also promotes tourism to this far-flung western location, as well.
The competitions also provide positive impact on other local sectors such as agriculture and farming. The tradition has partly prevented the shift of land for farming use.
It has also encouraged the people to improve the quality of animal husbandry,raising winning buffaloes for the yearly events.
There are approximately seven different circuits spread out in various locations throughout the district. The Sangyang Cerik circuit in the village of Tuwed, Melaya district is one of the main circuits.
The other dedicated fields-turned-circuits include Delod Berawah, Kaliakah, Pangkung Dalem, Merta Sari, Tuwed and Awen.
On the eve of the finals, there is a gathering among the racing teams called sekaa makepung with the Jembrana regent.
The evening is as festive as the major racing day that follows, being filled with art performances and public entertainment.
On race days, international visitors will also be equally amused by the ‘buffalo fashion shows’.
These feature the bovines beautifully and carefully dressed up with ornaments from hoof to horn, in another segment of the ‘best-dressed’ competitions.