Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Dubai Camel Races

Last week I finally got to see the camel races in Dubai at the Al Marmoom camel racetrack.  For those of you in Dubai, this is located just after the Rugby Sevens stadium on the Al Ain road.  It is not well marked, so it is easy to miss.

The beauty of this experience is that it is not that crowded, the venue is nice and casual, and you can get close to the action.  The track is 8 kilometers long, which is just under 5 miles.  It took the camels a good 12 minutes or more to finish this.   There are two small televisions in the stands for the handlers to watch how their camels are doing.

A jeep with a camera follows the camels as they run to record the race.  There are several other jeeps that follow the camels with what I assume are the guys who control the “robots” on the camels.

Robots are the result of international protest.  Young boys used to jockey the camels until a few years ago.  The robot has a whip on it, and what seems like pockets for walkie-talkies.

If you are ever in Dubai during this time, I highly recommend a visit to the camel races.  It was a great experience.

During the regular season, races typically run twice a week – 7am and 2pm.  If you cannot get there at that time exactly, based on my experience, there are plenty of races so you can still enjoy it if you are running late.

The camel jockeys are ready to go!

Long necks cannot get out of the gate quick enough

And they're off!

There is one camel with a human jockey on it.  He is just the starter.
He runs with them for a few seconds, and once they are on their way he turns back to help start the next race.

After the race, the camels head back to their pens

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