Ox Game rumbles into Industry

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! INDUSTRY – Eight men on horseback created a mosh pit of man and beast Saturday as several hundred people watched them compete for a 50-pound bag that closely resembled a burlap sack of potatoes. This was the scene at the Ox Game at the Industry Hills Expo Center in Industry, where the sport was played for the first time in the San Gabriel Valley. The L.A. Range Riders defeated Rough Stock 26-16. Wesley Devol, 74, of Encinitas brought members of his family the nearly 100-mile distance because they had heard so much about it. “It’s an interesting thing to watch,” said Devol, who is an experienced horseback rider. “I’ve been on a horse before but not like this. I don’t think I could now. I don’t think I could have years ago.” The object of the game is for oxboys – or horse riders – to pick up the ox bag from the center of the equestrian turf, carry it to one end of the arena and maneuver around a flag, worth one point, then travel to the opposite side of the playing field and drop it into a circle for a two-point touchdown. The game has four 12-minute quarters, with breaks between each quarter. During those breaks, with steam rising collectively from their horses like a row of automobiles with ruptured radiator hoses, the oxboys dust themselves off, retrieve their fallen baseball caps, readjust the tack on their steeds and ready for the next round. Jesse Gustelam, captain of the L.A. Range Riders who was named most valuable player of Saturday’s match, said he had never played anything like Ox Game before. “A lot of heart and a lot of power (are important). And not to be afraid,” he said. Ox Game, according to organizers, came from the sport Buzkashi, still played in Afghanistan, Mongolia and Asia 2,000 years after it was created. The ox bag was originally an animal carcass filled with rocks and sand. But in Buzkashi, there are no rules, and riders can introduce whips, chains, or use their horses to ram one another to win. This version is a bit tamer and safer, like arm wrestling compared to the WWE, but still a challenge. Riders still fall from their horses. “(In Afghanistan) they play with 40 to 50 horses,” said Sonny Amin, founder of Horse Ox USA Inc., who came to the United States from Afghanistan in 1979. “(Here) we have a system, referee, trainers. We want to make sure the horses are safe as well as the players.” He is hopeful that Ox Game will become the next hottest sport in America. “I would like to expose this scene all over California and all over the United States,” he said. lafayette.hight@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2764last_img read more

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