A lot of Bull!

Many thanks for this guest blog post from Katie Foster, a freelance travel writer who lives in Dubai and blogs on Arabian Tales & Adventures

Katie writes:

On our third road trip to the Emirate of Fujairah, we still marvel at the dramatic twists of landscape as we drive from the humid coastal areas of Dubai, through the unencumbered desert, climbing over the weathered red Hajra Mountains, and quickly descending to the beautiful blue Gulf of Oman shoreline. This time we join the Corvette Arabia club that is hosting a gathering at the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa.

As we motor, I am diligently flipping through my Lonely Planet UAE guide in search of something of interest we might have missed on our earlier trips. Eureka!! We are just in time for . . . bull butting!!

The competition area really isn’t too hard to find. As you enter Fujairah from E89, turn right at E99, go just a short distance, and look for a gathering of assorted pickup trucks parked by the side of the road. You know you are in the right place when you see lots of really huge Brahma bulls being led alongside the road. If you come to the Al-Rughailat Bridge, you have gone too far.

The site is quite rustic. The “arena” is an open field with a rather shaky-looking fence. Pickup trucks are parked around the perimeter. On either end of the arena, the bulls are tethered to posts awaiting their turn to compete. Judges sit INSIDE the arena dangerously close to the competition area. I suspect this is so they can get a really good view of the bulls.

Please note, this is a bloodless sport that is definitely a dad and kid affair. Children of all ages eagerly await the start of the competition. Vendors circulate among the crowd selling drinks and snacks. We see only a handful of tourists. For sure, this is a local activity that occurs every Friday about 5 PM.

The prized bulls, with lead ropes threaded through their noses, come from all across the UAE. Led by their handlers, they are positioned face to face in the center of the arena. The handlers back away to a safe distance while a “ring master” stays to monitor and encourage the action. The activity consists of the bulls, each weighing over a ton, “locking” foreheads and proceeding to push their opponent over some imaginary line or push him down.

The commentary from the loud speaker is raucous and full of passion as the crowd cheers and claps the competitors to a victory. Everything is in Arabic, and since I can find no one who speaks English, we can only guess at the proceedings.

I have taken up my position, camera in hand, just inside the arena. During the course of the competition, I manage to be chased by only one errant bull. Watch the movie and enjoy the action. . .

Postscripts . . .

Corvette Arabia . . . When you move to a new town, you must assertively search out ways to get connected. One of the first things Roger and I did when we were settled in Dubai was find the local Corvette Club. To our delight we found the Corvette Arabia group headed by Elie Deeb who created the group to share his love of the iconic American muscle car with his compatriots in the UAE. Roger and I have enjoyed outings with them to the Dubai Autodrome and the road rally to Fujairah. In Fujairah we were joined by the Royal Squad, a group of Emiratis who treasure their large glamorous pickup trucks. They arrive at the event in true Arabian style! http://youtu.be/XpvFVfXetFo