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Assam preserves age-old tradition of pony race

Sunday, 3 March 2013
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March 03:

Guwahati, Mar 3 (ANI): A heritage pony race held every year in Assam''s Jorhat district is one of the oldest sporting events that witnesses record footfalls.

This was the 133rd edition of Jorhat Races, the historical equestrian event which was held at the Gymkhana Club in Jorhat.

More than 100 jockeys participated in the grand event this year. Unlike other equestrian events, this one is exclusively open to local ponies.

The first Pony Race in Jorhat was held on January 16, 1877. And, every year, the organizers try to keep the tradition alive.

"We intend to soldier on and keep this tradition alive. It gives some kind of local festival to this part of Assam. We have got a bigger crowd this year. In general, people enjoyed themselves," said Prabhat Kumar Bezbaruah, Chairman, Organizing Committee.
It is a much-awaited event, especially for riders of the Mising Tribe, who participate every year to try to win the prestigious Governor''s Gold Cup.
Mising tribals have raised ponies for generations and assist in their upkeep and transportation.

The winners were awarded trophies with cash prize. The crowd was enthralled by the riders'' bareback riding skills and pulsating performances.

"I really liked it, this is very nice. The race is conducted in this club, and the young players are playing well. I have got my family with me to witness this race," said Khogen Gogoi, spectator.

The state equates this event to festivals like La Tomatina in Spain, or even the Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Whereas the above two mentioned festivals have tomatoes or music as their anchor points, the Jorhat Races has ponies and racing as its central theme.

Such events help to preserve old- age traditions and inculcate a sense of identity among locals. (ANI)

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