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The Sport of Drunken Horse Racing

(Photo: Vice/Benjamin Reeves)

It is truly the sport of kings! To the Maya living in the Sierra de los Cuchumantes Mountains in Guatemala, drunken horse racing is an important tradition. Unlike, say, the Kentucky Derby, the riders are absolutely smashed. In fact, some are so drunk that they have to be tied into the saddles by their alleged “friends.” Atlas Obscura reports on a race in the town of Todos Santos:

Predictably, a few riders flew out of their saddles, landing with a dull thud in the loose dirt. Others slowly slumped to the side before gently reaching terra firma and giving up, their relieved horses continuing on without them.

The majority of the riders somehow made it to the finish line, but even after several hours of watching, it was never exactly clear who “won” or what the prize might be. Advil? A heating pad? Exemption from next year’s race?

In Todos Santos, it was recently reported that the winner of the annual drunken horse race was given a live chicken and the title of El Capitan.


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