Makepung Buffalo races is an exclusive tradition thriving in the Jembrana Regency, west of Bali. The name "makepung" stems from the word “kepung” which means "to chase". Pairs of buffaloes with jockeys chase one another in ornated wooden ploughing carts which are partly modified to suit the race.
Seven circuits of the Jembrana Regency compete in Makepung Buffalo races. One of the main circuits is Sangyang Cerik, in the village of Tuwed, Melaya district. Others are Delod Berawah, Pangkung Dalem, Kaliakah, Merta Sari, Tuwed and Awen. The bulls and jockeys partake in several races until the final governor’s cup—“Jembrana Regent’s cup.”
Besides the chase itself, the attendees are welcome to admire a Buffalo Fashion Show extravaganza. It's a unique occasion to see hundreds of buffaloes ornated from horn to hoof.
This cultural tradition appears to be beneficial to Balinese in many ways. Firstly, it does draw tourists to the remote area. Secondly, it encourages local farmers to breed healthy buffaloes for the best chances to win.
The dates of the races vary every year, but generally, the season runs from mid-July to mid-November.