Thursday, June 24, 2010

PB Athletics

So, you thought you were coordinated?

Give this PB sport a try.

"PB," as in, our favorite little village of Piedras Blancas.

And "sport," as in, Carreras de Cintas in which athletes stick a peg through a tiny hanging ring while on a horse.

Inevitably, you have been one of the Costa Rica Outward Bound students or staff who have been to PB's adorable remote school (of 3-10 students) to paint, play soccer, meet the kids, deliver books, cook, and/or help in its organic garden while staying at one of PB's homestays.  It has a special place in all of our hearts. For this reason, PB takes any opportunity to fundraise and keep it going for many years to come.

So when the school's 15th anniversary happened this past May, Piedras Blancas civilians and their vecinos (from the towns of Brujo, Llano, and San Isidro) took advantage of the event by throwing a party, during which they sold Tico food and played games with entry fees.

Not only did the Carreras de Cintas sporting event help raise some additional funds, but it taught most of our gringo staff a thing or two about the true art of "pueblo athletics."  Now it's our chance to teach you, too.  Let's break it down, Wikipedia style:


Carreras de Cintas (Belts Race)
Team members1 person, 1 horse
Mixed genderYes, but typically men are drawn to the sport
CategorizationIndividual sport
Equipmentrope/wire, belt, argolla colgada (hanging ring), 5-8cm perno (peg), caballo (horse)
Venuefield (50m minimum in length)
Where played

Spain, Latin America

Contestants on horses ride 50 meters towards the wire/rope to attempt to capture a belt by putting a peg through a 2-centimeter ring

In Piedras Blancas' tournament, there were eighteen men who entered, each paying ₡6,000 (CRC, Costa Rica Colones).  Twenty premios (prizes) were awarded, one handed out to each of the first twenty "belt captures" - the contestants began in a line to make their attempts, then tried one at a time.  After each attempt they got back in line to do it again until all twenty prizes (horse supplies) had been awarded.

In addition to the twenty prizes, a 10,000 award was given to the winner of the primary tournament.  This consisted of levels, during which each contestant ran twice.  All of those who captured the belt both times moved to the next level.  The remaining contestant in the final level won the money.

We already had a held our Tico village friends in high regard, but putting a tiny peg through a tiny ring while galloping on a horse adds a whole new level of respect.  This is one sport we would like to see added to the Olympic Games.

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