August 13, 12 | Gakkun
Welcome to the eastern area of Hokkaido close to the Ohotsuku Sea! This area is particularly well known for dairy production.
Those living in rural areas around the world, may have seen sights such as this. Those in city areas perhaps not. This is the very important rural activity of making hay bales for livestock feed. This feed is used for the animals through the harsh Hokkaido winters when snow blankets the ground. The hay, which used to be stored in silos, is nowadays baled by large machines into different shapes. The kind of hay itself will affect the taste of the dairy products made from the cows that eat it. One of the most popular styles of hay bales in Hokkaido is the large round hay bale seen in this picture.
Utilizing these bales for something other than stock feed, let us introduce to you the "Hokkaido Round Hay Bale Race!".
(Actually the name in Japanese translates directly as "The difficult or cruel hay bale race!" - This event is not for those who don't like strong exercise!)
This large scale farming and outdoor event is held once a year, during the summer and attracts hundreds of visitors. The race is the main event at the "Nonki-land Festival" which also includes lots of food and great BBQs of various meats from Japan.
Onto the main event - You can see easily the idea of the race in the photo. Take one large round hay bale and roll it with team mates as fast as you can to the finish line! Simple? - Yes! Easy? - No!
Each team consists of four men or five women. Each team must roll a 500 or 400 kilogram (respectively) bale of hay along an 80 meter ROUND TRIP race track. The race track has a lovely 91 cm hill in the middle of the course just to make this more interesting (and difficult!). As the event is held during the short, hot Hokkaido summer, this event will most definitely test your body!
The fastest ever recorded time was for men, 32.99 seconds and for women 1 min 07 seconds. However, we are sure those who are even fitter can break these records.
In addition to a chance at breaking the record, contestants vie for a chance at the prize money! The prize is 200,000 yen for male teams and 100,000 yen for female teams.
This year's event will be held on August 26th (Sunday), with applications to enter closing August 17th (Friday). The event will be held at 'Friendship and Cheese Village Park'. So grab your friends / co-workers, get the application and come on down to test your rolling skills! Hot, Hard and Fun!
Oozora Town General Branch Office
Event Home Page
TEL : 0152-66-2131
Fax : 0152-66-2423
※ Pictures kindly provided.
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - GAKKUN)