Hooves of Thunder: Hefty beasts charge for glory at Chonburi Buffalo Race (photo essay)

The stakes were high and a lot of khwai pride was on the line Tuesday as hefty, horned furies thundered toward the finish line.

The Chonburi Buffalo Race unfolded near the sea in Chonburi, with provincial farmers pitting their buffaloes in fierce competition against one another – as they have for 143 years – in front of town hall for prizes and large sums of money.

This event drew crowds of locals and foreign visitors of all ages to witness the confounding sight of what these weighty, notoriously slow beasts are capable of.

Groups of buffaloes – categorised by size – sprinted down a 100-meter stretch of dirt with the jockeys perched on their backs and tethered by little more than a thin rope to hang onto.

Parades, music, games and beauty contests added to the family-friendly, carnival atmosphere.

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