Kaliakah Villagers, Jembrana Regency, Bali, reviving the buffalo racing tradition or “Makepung” which take place on the wetlands.
“Before makepung popular as it is now, people held the race on the wetlands in the 1930s,” said Mangku Ketut Lega, the elder of Peh Orchard, Kaliakah Village, Monday.
Makepung now usually held on the dry land. Whereas it was formerly took place on the wetlands to facilitate the working of agricultural land.
Attributes that applied by the jockey was different compared to makepung which organized on dry land that is more vibrant. The Jockey of makepung on wetlands only wearing udeng or Balinese headscarves.
While the buffalos used a variety of attributes, especially on their head and horns.
Mangku Ketut Lega said, Makepung on the wetlands was initiated by way of joke of farmers in days of yore plowed together in one area of rice fields.
“In the past, since the rice fields were vast and no tractors, farmers used to plow their fields together. Afterwards the joke appeared to race the plough puller buffalo,” he said.
Since it is considered a unique tradition and is rarely done, Mangku hope, makepung race can be held routinely every year.
According to him, the right time is right for the race is in November which is the initial planting period for farmers.
In makepung, the track used is approximately 125 meters length wet rice field with three to four pairs of buffalo competed in one round.
Muddy land makes the game becomes more exciting as the jockey often falls and wallow in it.
For the winner assessment is not only determined by the buffalo which first reach the finish line, but is also determined by the buffalo which runs in straight line with its upward head position.
Wayan Suama hoped the tradition can be developed so as it to be aligned with makepung on dry land.
Makepung in Jembrana Regency is the tradition of agrarian community, specifically for makepung on a dry track in the streets, already popular in Bali and even abroad.
Every year Jembrana Government organizes makepung race on dry land followed by hundreds of pairs of buffaloes.