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Goat Racing in Tobago during Easter Holidays

Saturday, April 15 2017

For yet another year, Easter in Tobago will be bustling with activity as the island hosts the longstanding, annual tradition of goat racing.

The indigenous sport has been in existence for over 90 years and on Easter Monday and Tuesday, goats and their jockeys will compete for a year’s worth of bragging rights.

On Monday, the Carnbee/Mt.

Pleasant Community Council will welcome residents and visitors to its 45th Annual Sports Festival at the Mt. Pleasant Recreational Grounds from 2 pm. The goat races will serve as the main attraction, with the fleet-footed animals and their equally fast handlers thundering down the 110 meter track.

However, the day’s activity will also feature other track and field and novelty events for spectators to participate in or simply observe.

The excitement then heads to Buccoo on Tuesday as the Buccoo Community Council hosts the village’s 92nd Annual Goat and Crab Race Festival at the Buccoo Integrated Facility.

Spectators will be treated to goat races on the 100 yard grass track, along with crab racing and live entertainment.

This unique sport began in 1925 when the inventive people of Tobago sought to establish their own racing community that rivalled the happenings in established race tracks such as Santa Rosa Park in Trinidad, but didn’t require expensive horses to run.

The sport has since matured from humble beginnings on Chance Street to Rosehill, where rails were built out of bamboo and swamp wood. Now, spectators, jockeys and the four-legged competitors themselves enjoy the modern facilities at Mt. Pleasant and Buccoo where the races have found their home.

What began as a novelty sport now enjoys international recognition, and the goat races have become a traditional offering for visitors to the island during the Easter season.

With the Tobago Jazz Experience coming close on the heels of the goat racing festivities, it is no surprise that over 19,000 international arrivals were recorded between March and April of last year as visitors come by land and sea to experience the cultural and musical offerings of Tobago.

“Goat racing is such an integral part of Tobago’s heritage and an aspect of our identity that all Tobagonians should be proud of,” said Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, Councillor Nadine Stewart- Phillips.

“As we work toward fully integrating all aspects of the island’s culture into the Division’s overall tourism strategy, it is important for us to ensure signature Tobago experiences, such as goat racing, are properly maintained, preserve and showcased.” It is within this context that the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation lends its support to both events.

Goat racing remains a unique sport in a class of its own and The Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation commends the Community Councils of Carnbee/Mt. Pleasant and Buccoo for their consistent and unwavering dedication to preserving this tradition, as well enhancing the island’s offerings to visitors over the Easter weekend

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