I came from Kaliakah village, around 5 kms from Negara city where makepung event usually held. makepung is well known as buffalo racing after Harvest season in Jembrana. it’s make Jembrana regency in west part of Bali called ‘Bumi Mekepung .During the event, the makepung commite will divide participants from all villages in jembrana into 2 groups, the eastern of ijo gading river with red uniform and the western of ijogading river with green uniform. ijo gading river is a river that cross along negara city
this event held every 2 weeks start from May until October. a day before the event, the Makepung arena has packed with racers from all over village together with their best buffalos. Those buffalos are raised and receiving the treatment just like an ‘athlete’. People say, those buffalos were fed with special ingredients so they can have more power and energy during the race. Turns out ‘doping’ is allowed here
For richer team, they can afford transporting these buffalos on trucks, for the less fortunate team, they have to walk with their buffalo for many kilometers from their village, the carriage ( Cikar) and all buffalo accessories for racing were pulled by a motorbike. At night, the situation around the arena was look like a ‘Night Market’, we can find many foods, stage performance, loud music performance(Joged bungbung or Jegog ) and of course, like any other Night Market, you will find alcohol drinks and also gambler.
Before dawn, the owner of those buffalos will perform some particular rituals and also decorating their buffalos with bright colors. Each team naming themselves with a very unique and exotic names such as Wiro Sableng, Juwita Malam , Sekar jepun , Sari Godel, and so on.
Like any other Balinese, most of the event will have to be started with ritual or magic and so does this Makepung. You will see people will place their offer early morning before the event begin in many places such as in a ‘deadly turn’ and especially in “Start” and “Finish” line and sometime in particular place like temple around circuit.
although the animal lover, I feel a bit disturbed by this event because this event show violence to the animal.The rider whipped the buffalo with a stick. It’s not just an ordinary stick because they put many nails in that stick and whipped it as strong as they can which is caused a terrible wounds in that buffalo. they will push their buffalo into their limit.but I thought it still interesting because after race all buffalos are treated like an athlete, they had massage, special grass ,vitamins and also special care from the owner. it will be more special if the buffalo as a winner.I Have found some tourists closed their eyes and even leave the arena before it was finished, perhaps because they could not stand looking how those buffalos were tortured. but they didn’t know about wounded buffalo during event will be recover in quickly with special treatment.
finally I would like to invite the reader to see makepung in my village