Bull Race or Karapan Sapi from Madura. Bull Race or well-known as Karapan Sapi, is a race for a couple of bulls ridden by jockey called “tukang tongko”. The rider stands on what so-called “kaleles”, which then drawn by the bulls. The jockey stands to control the bulls at high speed along the 100 meters of race track for 10 seconds to 1 minute.
According to the story of Madurese, bull race was started by a muslim scholar named Syeikh Ahmad Baidawi, which was known as Prince Katandur, the son of Prince Pakaos, grandson of Sunan Kudus. it was held in Sepudi Island, Sumenep regency from Sepudi Island, Sumenep regency, in century of 13. The main duty of Prince Katandur was to spread Islam, however, because he was also expert in planting, farming, and gardening so he also taught the local people how to plow the ground (rice field) which called as “nanggala” or “salaga” in which it used two bamboos drawn by two cows.
Gradually, many farmers used cows to plow their rice field and at the same time, the farmers made a competition. The competition was about who will finish in plowing the rice field faster. In the end, the competition turned into a kind of racing sport with two bulls called Karapan Sapi. The bull race soon becomes annually activities carried every year, especially when harvest on the fields has finished.
Bull race is Madura’s annual traditional event; it is such a bull racing tournament. It is usually held at week end within August to September, or ideally before or after the fasting month. The championship is starts from the district level to the regency level and moving forward to the level Residence. Last, the final will be held on September or October in the city of Pamekasan to compete for President Cup.
Bull race or Karapan Sapi is such a prestigious event for Madurese people, for the bull’s owner will feel socially uplifted when their bulls can be a champion. This event becomes an outstanding-event-party for Madurese, it needs more energy, more beneficial times and, of course, more money to spend. Regarding this event, the bull becomes an investment out of gold and money. Thus, the owner will be more concern to make their bull winning in this race. From the folklore,
At this race, the bull will race in pair. There is also a standing wooden cart that put in those bull’s back, a place for the jockey to ride away the bull and controlling their speed, named “Keleles”. The race track is typically about 100 meters long and it takes about ten to fifteen seconds to pass. Before racing the bull, before the race, each team will show up their bulls in parade accompanied by Madura’s traditional instrument named “Saronen” (it is kind of music and dance which accompany a pair of cows before they race in the race).
Looking at the background, bull is not an animal type for racing activities for are not classified as fast runner animals. But this can be solved by training the bull twice or three times a week, not more than that. The exercise is held around 3 pm before dawn.
It is said that a pair of healthy and strong bulls will cost Rp. 4 million per pair for their food and other maintenance. Moreover, they are also consuming some traditional herb and dozens of chicken eggs per days.
To make the bulls running as fast as they can, the tail is tied with nails and it was also given the chili and ginger. The jockey’s whip is also added by nails. It seems sadistic here, but that is the way, the culture. The more they get hurt, the more of the bull will run faster. God bless the cows.