Annual buffalo race kicks off in Thailand

    11:15 AM, Oct 29, 2012   |    comments
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    CHONBURI, Thailand (CBS) -- The 141st annual buffalo race kicked off on Monday (October 29) in Chonburi, a province roughly 81 miles south-east of Bangkok.

    More than 30 buffaloes from across Chonburi province competed to be the pick of the pack in a race that will fetch a trophy from the Thai royal family, as well as 500 U.S. dollars for the rider.

    One hopeful rider gave some tips to breed a winning buffalo.

    "I've been raising buffalo since I was a kid with my parents and we raised about 10 of them. You just keep developing and breeding them. Find a good father and mother buffalo and breed them and we come to compete in this race every year," said 51-year old Wipoon Boran.

    "This year we have four buffaloes racing. I think they might be winners because they've won in previous races. They were in second place in other races (this month). Today, if they get a good start, they'll be number one," Wipoon said.

    Buffaloes zig-zagged along the race track and some even ran off the course completely.

    Spectators braved the scorching heat to get a glimpse of the races.

    "Yes, I heard there were some bulls out here today. It seems like a pretty interesting experience, to try to see something new in the Bangkok area. So I'm looking forward to seeing what happens here and seeing who wins," said 32-year old Bangkok resident, Timothy Culley.

    Former buffalo rider Wirawat Sanknua said winners have to start young.

    "I never fall. I'm not scared, it's easy. But you have to start young, you have to start riding buffaloes young," said 32-year old Witawat.

    No official winner has been announced as the races were expected to go into the night.

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