Camel Wrestling Festival to Kick Off in Turkey January 15

Over 100 disgruntled camels will go into head-to-head battle for dominance in the small Turkish town of Selcuk on January 15. The annual Camel Wrestling Festival draws camel owners from across the country eager to parade their beloved beasts of burden (many of them named after politicians and world leaders) through the village. Adorned in decorative rugs and colorful saddles, the camels are fully grown bulls specifically fed to increase their bulk. The festival takes place during the camel mating season, and an alluring cow (female camel) is brought into the arena to incense the bulls into fighting. The wrestling duel usually involves a few head butts and a lot of frothing at the mouth, but occasionally ends up with the camels wrestling with their necks to pin their opponent. The duel is over when one of the camels falls or flees the fight.

While the Turkish tradition of camel wrestling is over 2,400 years old, the first Camel Wrestling Festival in Selcuk took place in 1983. The event has been an annual tradition ever since and today attracts close to 20,000 spectators annually.


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