Bull Butting

March 7, 2010

Posted by Kanga.

Friday we drove to Fujairah to see the bull butting competition that is held every Friday afternoon. It was pretty entertaining and I hope you enjoy these videos.

We don’t know all the details on how this is scored and how the winner is determined, but it seems fairly simple. Two bulls are placed in an arena and they butt heads. Fairly bloodless and quite entertaining since each bout is different. It has been going on for hundreds of years. It was first introduced to the region by the Portuguese.

The bulls are tied up outside the arena until it is their turn to compete. As you can see, they dig holes, stomping and snorting while they wait. These were directly behind where I was standing, so you will hear them in the background of the videos.

The arena is simply a large sandy area. The fences have only recently been added. There is a chain link fence around the outside and a metal railing inside that and most of the spectators stand behind the metal railing. You will notice, however, that there are several people (including children) sitting or standing in the arena. We happened to be at one of the corners where the bulls enter/leave, so you will see a few closeups as they pass by.

The men who handle (and try to control) the bulls are barefoot. One is armed only with a long riding crop. There is a rope around each bull’s neck which they use to pull the bulls apart and lead them. The bulls all have rings in their noses and before and after the bouts they are lead using a rope that is threaded through that ring. There are no rodeo clowns and no riders on cutting horses.

This first video is a fairly straightforward bout. Not too many surprises.

This second video shows a bit of a stalemate with the bulls standing still head to head. It turns into a bit of a tug of war toward the end.

This last video is the most exciting. Keep your eyes on the spotted bull.

How did we find out about this spectacle? Another expats blog – Focus on Fujairah and it was written up in TimeOut Dubai, a local entertainment guide magazine.

We attempted to see this event last year – see previous post – but it was canceled that day.


One comment

  1. Are all those people supposed to be in the ring controlling the bulls? They look like they jump in randomly and seem part of the entertainment. I also have to say that the bulls with the rows of lights behind them seem a strange juxtaposition. Not quite the county rodeo you’ve got there. Thanks for sharing.

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