5 Things about Madura Bull Racing

Madura culture are generally similar to Java, it can be said that it belongs to the Java, Bali, Madura and Sunda family. Madurese is known to be conditioned in part by the harsh landscape and climate. The people of Madura are well known for their straightforwardness and direct approach, especially in their manner of speech. It is also popular that in each region of Indonesia has its own tradition. Bull racing or Karapan Sapi is the true and unique tradition of Madurese people, let see the 5 things about Madura Bull Racing.

1. History

Kerapan is from kerap or kipar which means depart or released together or droves. In arabic kirabah means friendship. The race originated from Sapudi Island, a small island next to Madura. The first version of the history is the race was used by Islam ulema to spread Islam across Madura. The second version is that this bull racing was created by a distinguished man from Sapudi Island to make the soil fertile by plowing. This idea lead to a good crop for farmers, then when it is post harvest time they will celebrate by holding the bull race.

By 1980s, the Madura bull racing has become popular and grown so much. This made the race conserved and even have a national race for it, which is the annual President Cup. This means that the winner of the bull racing competition would be awarded with a prize on behalf of the President of Indonesia. Fun fact is that the scene of the races was depicted on the back of coins 100 Indonesian rupiah that was produced from 1991 to 1998.

2. The bulls

There are specific characteristics of racing bull which are :

  • Chest shape is narrowed from upper to lower
  • Long back
  • Tight nails
  • Long tail
  • Big strong body

These race bulls are special since it is treated whole-heartedly by their owners. Their meals are not the same as the usual bull, these race bulls daily meals is herbs, honey and eggs. 20 eggs for morning meal or more for the bull are prepared by the owners when the race is approaching. It is common that their meals will be more in amount and owners can spend at least 4 million rupiahs, to build muscle and maintaining the bulls’ health during the preparation of the race.

3. Involved parties

The next thing about Madura Bull race is the involved parties. When the race comes it involves a few more parties beside the owner and the bulls itself. Here are the other parties :

  1. Tukang tongko or known as the jockey, The jockey sometimes can be under the age of 15, but they are actually professional riders for this extreme race.
  2. Tukang ambeng which is the man who release the stranglehold
  3. Tukang ambeng that has a job to gnash the bull
  4. Tukang gubra someone who shout at the side of the race track
  5. Tukang nyandak a person to stop the bulls at finish line
  6. Tukang tonja is the person who leads the bulls after the race

4. Technique of the race

Since it has become a national race, there are techniques for this bull race. The race is conducted in a series of elimination heats between winner and loser of proceeding heats. There are 4 phases that consist of :

  1. First phase all the bulls compete in two pairs to set apart the winners from the losers. In this phase both winner and losers still have a chance to compete again.
  2. Second phase or known as the pre selection. This phase make winner compete with each other the same also is applies to the losers, this will decide the winners of the winners and the winners of the losers. Different from the first phase, both the losers are not allowed to compete again in this second phase.
  3. The semi final which is the third phase will determine three pairs winners of the winners and three pairs winner of the losers
  4. The last phase is the final, the same as in any other race the final will decide the first, second and third champions of the winners and of the losers.

The race also has many scale which are :

  • Kerap Keni  is the district scale
  • Kerap Raja is the grand race, which involves the winners of Kerap Keni and take place in capital of regency.
  • Kerap Undangan is the invitees race
  • Kerap Karesidenan is the residency race, this race involves the winner of Kerap Raja.
  • Kerap Latihan is the rehersal race

5. Tourist attraction

Today this bull race becomes one of the activity to be done when in Madura. The bull race and trials are held throughout the year with the serious racing starting from August. The competition is lively in September and October which is when the quarterfinal action begins. There are bull racing stadiums all over Madura but the biggest one is in Pamekasan. The final of the bull race is always held in Pamekasan which is the capital of Madura.  As many as 100 bulls can be featured in the finals, they are decorated with flowers, ribbon and ornamental harnesses.

Now we know the 5 things about Madura bull racing, actually there is also an introductory dance for this bull race which is called Soronen. This bull race is one of the unique cultural heritage in Indonesia especially in Madura. It has become the entertainment for the people in Madura island but also to the world. It is very common for foreigners to come to Madura just to watch this bull race so it is also best for us who live in Indonesia also know about this unique tradition.