Caribbean, Countries, Culture

The going’s gruff in Tobago

The going’s gruff in Tobago as the Caribbean Islanders celebrate the return of a sport dear to my heart, goat racing.

Twasn’t the goats’ fault, of course, with Covid calling a halt to the annual Easter Tuesday spectacle.

But you know what, they’ve been straining at the leash to get going again.

Horse racing’s wee brother

Give ‘em enough rope: With Levi and Bandanaman the goat in Tobago

Goat racing has been running since 1925 when the ordinary Tobagonians put on their own event.

After the Lord Mayor’s Show on Easter Monday, or the equivalent of it in the Caribbean, the horse-racing event for the rich.

I’m happy to say that my old friends in Tobago are using yours truly to promote this year’s race.

The Race of 2019

Kidding about: With Levi and my racing goat Bandanaman in Tobago

With a picture of the legendary run-off between Bandanaman (my goat) and Antony Vickers’ Vic from 2019 on their site.

And don’t be fooled by the frame.

The trick to goat racing is to stay behind Billy Goat Gruff.

The competition: The Goat Race

As our host Marsha pointed out to Antony who was in his own race to beat the goat.

Thankfully I’d had Levi train me in the best way to race goats.

Levi in Da House

Levi is what I guess you’d call in the business a Goat Whisperer.

The best way to train a racing goat is to start from at least two months out.

The experts tell us you should learn to walk your goat at increasing speeds until they’re running in front of the trainer.

And they’re even put on a swimming routine to build up muscle.

Just like horse racing, the goats are divided into several classifications.

There’s C2 (first-time runners and that’ll be my Bandanaman).

And then C1 (runners from the previous year), B (running for the past two years) and A (most experienced runners).

Festival time

The Tobagonians say the Goat Race Festival has evolved into a family affair.

And for the slower-paced there is a Crab Race (yes, I got Crabs too in Tobago!)

Generations meet up and visitors can partake in the landmark event, placing bets or even play jockey themselves.

Trust me and I’m not kidding, this is great fun.

And you’ll feel like quite the athlete and expert.

And you’ll soon be sharing tips like… the going’s gruff in Tobago.



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