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Pulling bull contests

Landscape - Anse-Bertrand

There is a spectacular tradition in Guadeloupe which amazes tourists as well as the local population, it is about competitions of pulling bulls. Pulling bull contests are both a leisure activity and a sport that hides many hours of training. We must move oxen pulling a weighted cart on a hillside. This presupposes a strong bond between the master and his animals but also a lot of work upstream. The oxen-pulling competitions generally oppose teams of 2 animals with a timing of the journey time achieved. The rules imposed are strict since the master is not allowed to give more than 12 lashes and the course is identical for all teams involved in the competition. The team leaving the course which is bounded by studs or which gives more than 12 lashes is eliminated from the competition. The course is timed by a referee (6 min maximum). The bulls are classified into 5 categories according to their weight: minimal category for bulls from 570 to 670 kg, cadet for bulls between 671 and 720 kg, category C for those from 721 and 770 kg, category B for bulls over 770 kg and finally, category A, also called Elite, designates bulls who have already acquired points in previous competitions. The towed load varies according to the category and can go up to 2 tonnes. The Creole cross breed is the one most often found in the higher category, recognizable by its hump. It is more robust than the pure Limousin or Charolais bull which can suffer from ticks, heat, humidity and which is not in its climate. Victory will go to the crew who have taken the least time to climb the course, using the least amount of lashes. As in all competitions, enthusiasts buy and resell the bulls, some transactions go up for an animal to more than 20,000 €! In some competitions, the winner can receive a large envelope or even a Pick Up. Many competitions are organized throughout the non cane harvest season in Guadeloupe. A real village is organized and each space is well demarcated, the course, the safety zones, the food and drink stands, the shaded spaces allowing the champions to patiently wait their turn, the teams' preparation areas ... The contests generally take place at the end of the cane season, from July to February. The town of Anse-Bertrand is represented by the association “Les Titans du nord“, created on February 22, 1988. This pulling ox club takes part in the various competitions organized by the various clubs, within the framework of the calendar established each year by the Guadeloupean Committee of pulling oxen. It organizes events (race, reception of prize-giving) during the municipal festival in the territory of Anse-Bertrand. The purpose of this association is also to promote and defend a cultural heritage which is the practice of oxen-pulling races and also cart rides.

 Pulling ox competition on the Anse Laborde site
Pulling ox competition on the Anse Laborde site
 Anse-Bertrand. In June, pulling oxen competition at Anse Laborde
Anse-Bertrand. In June, pulling oxen competition at Anse Laborde
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