Party of Year
after David Longstreath
Water buffaloes competed in four categories:
smallest, small, medium and heavy.
to celebrate the end of the rainy season.
And there was heavy unofficial betting going on
Jockeys and handlers spend a fair amount of time just getting on
Sri, a one-ton competitor whose name means
barreled down the 130-yard track to victory,
the biggest prize of the day—$475 and an irrigation water pump.
What makes for a good racing water buffalo?
“You need a buffalo that likes to run.”
At the sound of a whistle,
five black water buffaloes set off,
raising dust from the track and cheers from the crowd.
High school bands in colorful Hawaiian shirts
tooted American classics as teen-age
beauty queens perched atop decorated
buffaloes waved to the crowd.
Accustomed to pulling plows slowly though flooded rice paddies,
the animals hesitate at the starting line.
But once they take off, the ground thunders under their hoofs.