Goat Racing: What is it and why it's a big deal in Tobago

Apr 09, 2020

buccoo goat race
Photo: Alexa Fernando | Instagram: @ajfernando

 

The annual Tobago Crab and Goat Race has become synonymous with Easter on the island.

Each year, jockeys race their goats several hundred yards to the finish line, competing for the coveted title, Champ of Champs. 

The annual racing event--which attracts both locals and visitors from all over the world--got its start in 1925. At that time, horse racing occupied Easter Monday and was a sport reserved for the local gentry.

Goat racing was considered as the poor man’s equivalent to the horse races, so Tuesday was declared ‘Easter Tuesday’ and dedicated to the racing of goats for the entertainment of the "lower classes". 

Although Easter Tuesday is the official day for the Goat Race, the event is so popular it also takes place during the Tobago Heritage Festival. 

While it may look easy, quite a lot of strength, speed and endurance are required ahead of the races. The goats are trained for at least two months, learning to walk at increasing speeds until they’re running in front of the trainer. They're also put on a swimming routine to build muscle.

Just like horse racing, the goats are divided into several classifications: C2 (first-time runners), C1 (runners from the previous year), B (running for the past two years) and A (most experienced runners).

Today, the Goat Race Festival has evolved into a family affair where generations meet through tradition and visitors can partake in the landmark event, placing bets or even play jockey themselves. 

Tobago Beyond Press Trip Goat Race