The Telegraph
Monday , February 3 , 2014
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Silver trophies for Jorhat derby winners this year

A winner receives a trophy. File pictures

Jorhat, Feb. 2: The winners of this year’s Jorhat races will receive pure silver trophies instead of regular ones, apart from cash awards, in a bid to add more value to the winners’ prize.

The 134th edition of the races, dubbed the oldest major sporting event in the region, will begin on February 20.

“The Mising villagers along the Brahmaputra, who have been participating in the races since time immemorial, have been complaining over the years that the trophies have no value after the event. Moreover, these villages are full of these trophies collected over the decades. As such we have decided to distribute pure silver trophies,” a member of the Jorhat Gymkhana Club Race Committee told The Telegraph today.

At least 60 trophies are distributed during the three-day races, which are being held almost regularly at the Gymkhana Club since 1877.

The British planters had started the horse races with the high-breed horses used by them for transportation.

As other modes of transportation took over, native breeds from the Mising villages replaced the high-breed horses. The Mising riders who participate in the races mostly hail from Jhanjimukh and Amguri in Sivasagar district, and are adept at riding bareback.

The race committee member said the races would be for two days instead of three.

“The final day of the races would be on Sunday as we want more people to come in to enjoy the grand event,” he said. There would be various local sporting events by the Missing community, apart from the races, and the main attraction would be a musical chair where horses would take part. The horses go around the chairs with their jockeys. When the music stops, they have to be reined in and the jockeys get down and occupy the chairs.

The organiser said there would be a cultural programme by the Mising community during the races, popularly known as Jorhat derby, held on the no-race days and an ethnic food festival by the Mising community has also been planned.

Apart from the races, there would also be a car rally on the inaugural day of the races, golf and tennis tournaments and an inter-school equestrian competition.

Another organiser said there would also be a screening of a documentary on the life of H.P. Barooah on February 22 evening. Trailer of another documentary on the races, Riders of the Mist, directed by Roopa Barua, would also be screened on the occasion.

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