Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south, and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.
What is Ulak tartish?
This game differs from the better-known kokboru, which pits one team against another. Ulak-tartysh is arguably an even rougher sport. Broken bones are commonplace. There is only one winner: the horse-rider who manages rugby-style to carry the animal carcass across the line.
The carcass gets badly knocked about over a day’s play, so good preparation is needed to ensure it remains intact. After the animal is killed, a slit is made in the abdomen and all the soft innards are removed, as are the head and extremities. All the apertures are carefully sewn up. At national kokboru championships, a sheep, weighing around 30 kilograms is usually used.
Prize for the winner:
Prizes included a young camel, foals, goats, sheep, a ton of rice divided into sack loads, carpets and cash, in Kyrgyz som, as well as U.S. dollars. The main prize of the day was a golden belt said to be worth several hundred dollars.