I like everything about this sport already, since it gives me an excuse to talk about yaks.
Seriously. Yaks! Where do I begin?
I feel about yaks almost what I feel about moose (ultimately, moose win because they have those knobby knees and charmingly absurd expressions). Yaks are shaggy. They’re tough cookies, wandering around mountain passes in the Himalayas. They also, uh, secrete stuff which the Nepalese use to make magical potions (or, you know, medicine). Butter made from their milk goes into some Tibetan drink known as “butter tea” which I honestly find intriguing and am not disgusted by (also, thank you Wikipedia for teaching me so much about so many silly animals). They also willingly carry humans around, unlike moose. Which means if all goes as planned, one day I may have one for a pet, and I will drink butter tea. Yeah!
But the world of the yak is so much bigger than talking about how awesomely hairy they are, or how getting around in the Himalayas might be nearly impossible without them. These yaks, they let people dress them up and race them! Because that’s what we humans like to do! Put silly costumes on animals and run really fast!
Yep, yaks are real sweethearts. Every now and again at some festival in central Asia, these polite, patient yaks let some dudes dress them up in a fancy costume, jump up on them and race them. Apparently, yaks are pretty speedy. Some people might not think that, since traditionally the yak is portrayed as a beast of burden slowly plowing the field for some farmer, or hauling some people through an icy mountain pass. But when you get the yak out of the office, the wild side comes out. They get rough, these fellas, kicking and pushing all over the place. But it doesn’t stop there. Some of these festivals don’t just have yak racing: they have yak rodeo riding! And yak milking! Really, yak milking! What fun, what joys!
It’s a strange world, and I really like it that way.