SELCUK, Turkey – Camels and their owners recently descended on the western Turkish town of Selcuk for a wrestling event that pitted male camels against each other in fights over females.
Camel wrestling is a popular sport in Turkey’s Aegean region, though it can also be found in the northwestern Marmara and southern Mediterranean regions of the country too.
A female camel in heat is typically brought to the area in order to invoke jealousy among the males, who proceed to fight by slamming into each other with their necks in order to knock their opponents to the ground.
Referees score the competing animals, while there are teams on standby to intervene if matches become too violent.
If a camel escapes the arena or falls to the ground, the match is over.
But at the Selcuk-Efes Camel Wrestling Festival, it was not all about the spitting and banging into another camel to bring him down; the event also featured a “most beautiful camel” competition.
The animals were elaborately decorated with an assortment of colored felts, wool, embroidered materials, beads and seashells.
Bouts are typically held during the winter months and the owner of the winning camel is presented with a carpet as a prize.