Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 02
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Despite the fact that Uloq should traditionally be played in spring or autumn, horsemen like to play on fresh snow - it's safer when you fall from a horse.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 03
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

A big round target marks the finish line where the winning rider is supposed to lay the carcass - without getting it stolen from him by other riders with whips clenched in their teeth and horses trained to bite.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 04
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

The jury consists of respected people (aksakals) who inspect horsemen, the carcass and monitor the game to make sure it goes on according to the rules.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 05
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

The jury will grant the winner a prize: it can be anything from a horse or carpet to a TV or even a car.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 06
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Spectators enjoy alcoholic beverages while braving the cold to watch the game. Their drinks of choice: vodka and cheap local wine called "Porto 53."

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 08
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Riders who become too tired to carry on or who are injured can leave the game at any time.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 09
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

The hoard of riders waits for a signal from the jury that marks the beginning of the game.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 10
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Uloq fans are often criticized for drinking and bad behavior.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 11
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Fans wait in line to enter the massive field where the game will take place in Ertosh.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 12
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

While men ride horses into the game, children and young boys ride donkeys.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 13
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Riders try to wear warm clothes made of thick layers of cotton to prevent injuries from horses and other riders.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 14
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

A carcass used for the game should first be beheaded. A regulation carcass weighs between 30 and 40 kg.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 17
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

A game of Uloq has just begun before a packed audience in Ertosh, Uzbekistan.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 16
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Spectators try to find elevated places to have a good view on the game.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 18
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Riders are allowed to whip each other. They often hold their whips in their mouths while trying to control their horses with both hands.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 15
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Riders are not allowed to attack each other from the back, but all other kinds of physical attack are permitted.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 19
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Bizarrely and painfully, it is allowed for horses to bite riders and other horses. Riders often train their horses to perform such a trick on command.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 21
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

Riders customarily pray before the start of the game.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 20
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

One lucky rider (left) wears a Soviet tank brigadier helmet to the game. It's considered the best defense for a horseman's head.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 22
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

The winner (right) will ride back to the jury with the carcass once he has planted it in the target.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 23
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

The winner of the game of Uloq rides back towards the jury and spectators with his spoils.

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 24
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
10 Mar 2015

A lone Uloq rider wanders with his horse in the field of battle at the end of the game.

Thumb sm
Uloq: Uzbekistan's Ancient Extreme Sport
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
28 Jan 2015

Photos by Umida Akhmedova

Uloq is the Uzbek version of the famous Asian Buzkashi game. This tradition was spread in Central Asia and Afghanistan by Mongols with their cult of horsemen. The rules are simple: riders compete for a carcass of a goat or a young ram. The winner has to cross the finish line on horseback without allowing other riders to rob him of his prey. Like Buzkashi, Uloq is an extremely dangerous sport: 100 or more horsemen usually fight for a one carcass. Major Uloq games are usually held in the spring or autumn, when the Central Asian peoples traditionally celebrate their weddings, and is often played before the arrival of their main Spring festival, Nowruz. The official Uloq Federation of Uzbekistan conducts frequent tournements and competitions, bringing together up to 500 riders and thousands of spectators to watch the fast, intense sport.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Thumb sm
Uloq in Uzbekistan 01
Ertosh, Uzbekistan
By TTM Contributor 100
28 Jan 2015

Riders from all the surrounding villages take part in an Uloq competition in Ertosh. Participating in Uloq competitions is considered a good way to demonstrate mens' strength to women.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 01
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

The Circus Bidone was born in France in 1976. Maintained by Francois Bidone, until today is the last itinerant circus that still moves with horses and carriages in the Berry area. The crew is formed by 7 carriages, 8 horses, one mule, one donkey, 8 artists, one responsible, one monkey, one henhouse and Francois Bidone.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 02
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

The story about Francois Bidone is based on an itinerant life began in May '68 in France. His hands gave birth to the first carriage and then the next five. Francois is responsible with Benedicte about the whole organization: from the construction of new structures to the show at the choice of artists. Currently there are over forty years that Bidone Circus is in operation.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 03
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Laura is an italian artist of the theater circus. She is traveling with the circus from 4 years. She moved permanently to France and with Freddi, is the only girl in the company.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 04
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Nico and Freddo try the instruments during a break. Guitar and Fisarmonica accompany the circus troupe during moments of work and stall.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 05
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Laura is an aereal dancer. During the show she does two aerial performance with a tissue and with the hoop. Every day she has to fix the "verghe", the structure where they hung the tools available for her number.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 06
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

In moments of telage, great part of the equipment is disassembled and ready for departure, the artists eat fast food all together before going back to work.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 07
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Toma, french guy, is on road with Bidon’s Circus for a year. He mainly deals with parks horses and keeps responsibility throughout torunee. He has a wild personality and brings much cheerfulness in to the company.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 08
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

During the summer tornee rarely reprove parts of the show, called "returns". During some afternoon hours Francois follows the company giving advice about improving some numbers.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 09
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

The Barrique is a carriage built by Francois for his son and is currently occupied by Freddo, musician of the company. When he has some free time he’s playing or practicing juggling with clubs, another of his passion.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 10
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

The oldest carriage circus called La Vielle and is currently occupied by Laura and Pippo, couple both on stage and in personal life. Carriages are small and contain everything needed to an itinerant life; from clothes for the show to life memories.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 11
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

During the breaks Laura exercising with Fisarmonica, her great passion. She would like in the future to integrate it into one of her numbers. During the winter period she’s always looking for new job opportunities.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 12
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Pippo is a juggler and musician and he’s for more years at work with the circus Bidone. He’s always available when there is work. Pippo is very caring and responabile to the whole structure of the circus.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 13
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Coco is the clown of the company. Lives in the carriage Clarabelle, the only one built by a midget and not by Francois. Very young he’s the first year of employment with the circus. He’s quiet and peaceful person during daily life but becomes an excellent clown during the show.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 14
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Once the circus is located inside the municipal areas the show are programmed each day. The duration of a show is two hours. Artists must follow strictly the lineup and can not change the numbers.

Thumb sm
Roadside with Cirque Bidon 15
Noyer-sur-cher, Frace
By Arianna Pagani
20 Aug 2014

Davelle is a Spanish guy on the first year of employment with the circus Bidone. He is represented as a juggler and as a clown. He knows how to mix the two techniques making fun and magical numbers.