Thrills and spills at Top Hill donkey racing
It was like a scene from the movie Kool Runnings, only this time, there were bobsleighs instead of donkeys.
One of the donkey races at Top Hill, St Catherine, literally had thrills and spills yesterday. Henry Miller's mount, Razor, and its competitor Black Rat, clearly were not in the mood to have anyone on their backs as they flicked their front legs in the air sending their riders to the ground.
As members of the crowd laughed hysterically, Miller plastered a smile on his face as he tried to get the animal under control. Miller was not to be defeated though, as with blood running down his elbow, he leapt back on to his animal and guided it to the finish line.
According to the Kellits farmer, this is the first time that his donkey has been mischievous.
"Mi foot hitch in a the rope still. A mi regular donkey whe mi use inna race so this is unlike him. Mi chip up me hand still but a simple thing that. All me need to do is dash little rum on it and mi good again," he said
The sugar cane farmer said he looks towards participating each year and even has a competition of his own in Clarendon.
"I work really hard to take care of my family so this a my likkle enjoyment," he said.
Donkey with stamina
He told THE WEEKEND STAR that he and his donkey began preparation more than a month ago for the Top Hill races.
"A bare Dragon, honey, Sinkle Bible and oats him eat from last month so him can have stamina. From last month, mi just have him in a pen a relax so him can get rest," Miller said.
When asked why there were no female donkeys in the competition, a laughing Miller said the male donkeys get distracted easily.
"The man donkey dem come in like some man who tun fool when them see woman dem. Anyhow, we never carry no woman donkey yah so, the male dem nah go run. Them a go start do bare things to impress the woman ass dem. Dem a go start let out dem 'privates' so dem can impress dem."
Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the donkey race which brings scores of persons to the rural community that sits on the Clarendon and St Catherine border.
According to event organiser Melton Edwards, in addition to the races, the event is about delivering a spectacle to onlookers.
"This event keeps the community together as well as it benefits the place economically. This is an event that vendors and any little hustler look towards, but, most importantly, donkey race adds light and energy to the Emancipation spirit," he said.
In addition to the races, there were other attractions such as a bounceabout for the children, and dominoes and bingo competitions for interested adults.
For others it was all about drinking a beer and skanking to the music that blared from the speaker boxes.
While admitting that this year's turnout was not as large as previous ones, Miller said it continues to attract a string of tourists and visitors from sections of the island.
"In 2012, it was our biggest staging but this is becoming a tourist attraction because a lot of persons who migrate bring back a friend or just fly down for it," Edwards said.