Old but racy: 69-yr-old ryot aces bullock cart racing

The farmer from old Mancherial, seems to be firm on putting the traditional sport back on the revival path.

By Author  |  Published: 13th Jan 2019  12:18 amUpdated: 12th Jan 2019  10:49 pm
bullock cart racing
Tumula Venkataramaiah, 69-year-old farmer from old Mancherial, with his bullocks.

Mancherial: Bullock cart racing, a traditional form of entertainment, is almost on the wane. Such events are becoming unusual in certain parts of Telangana, thanks to the advent of modern forms of entertainment.

But, Tumula Venkataramaiah, a 69-year old farmer from old Mancherial, seems to be firm on putting the traditional sport back on the revival path. An expert in bullock cart racing, he offers the best racing tips. He can make his bullocks run at a horse’s speed without being too harsh on them.

To his credit, Venkataramaiah won 27 first, four second and five third prizes in district-level competitions so far. “Being the son of a farmer, I wanted to prove myself by excelling in bullock cart racing. I ventured into racing six years ago. I was consistently performing well with the help of certain techniques, which I learned in my childhood. I could make an identity of my own with bullock cart racing,” Venkataraiamaiah told Telangana Today, narrating his tryst with the ancient sport and source of entertainment.

The success formula is nothing, but to train his bullocks in sprinting for 2 km once in a week. “Even if I don’t take part in races, I make the bovines practise so that they fare well in a competition. One needs to have healthy and active bullocks, and perseverance for participating in competitions,” he said.

Father of three sons, the farmer turned racer recently and bagged the third prize at an inter-district bullock cart race held in Jagadevapalli village of Jagitiyal district. He is now getting ready to take part in similar events slated to be organised in Seetharampalli village of Naspur mandal on January 15 and in Old Mancherial on January 26.

By topping in bullock cart racing, Venkataramaiah earned not only fame, but also many gold — winners are given 5 g of gold or Rs 5,000 cash. You can bag at least 2.5 g of the precious metal if you win a race. Only a few organisers present cash, he said.

Significantly, the sexagenarian claimed that he or his bullocks never got injured during the races. But, he plans to quit the indigenous sport in a couple of years. He returned to farming after working in a local cement factory for 20 years. He grows several crops on his six acres of land on the outskirts of Old Mancherial.