Croatian Ploughing Champions Crowned in Kupinečki Kraljevec

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Yes, you read that right – Croatia has its very own annual ploughing championship

So far, this has been a very eventful year in the quirky contest category. We’ve seen a frog jumping championship in Lokve, a stone-skimming championship in Kaštela, and a dog swimming marathon in Crikvenica – and we still have three more months to see what the rest of 2017 will gift us with.

Another peculiar manifestation comes from Kupinečki Kraljevec, a village located just south of Zagreb. On Saturday, September 2, the village hosted 30 farmers who gathered for the 15th Ploughing Championship and the 6th Horse Ploughing Championship!

The first round of competitions starts on a county level, sending the most skilled farmers to the state championship – the winners then go off to represent Croatia at the World Ploughing Championship.

The main goal of the amusing event is to preserve and improve the practice of ploughing, draw attention to the need for better technical equipment in Croatian agriculture, but also to offer the farmers an opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge. This year’s championship was ceremonially opened by Minister of Agriculture Tomislav Tolušić and Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, who was quick to comment he’s a country child who very well knows the ins and outs of ploughing.

Poor weather conditions might have dampened the field, but they failed to dampen the festive atmosphere in Kupinečki Kraljevec. The audience happily stumbled through mud to enjoy a versatile cultural-artistic programme, seeing attractive performances from folklore ensembles and checking out the locally grown produce on offer.

After 150 minutes the farmers had to plough the wet soil, first places in two different categories went to Radivoj Rekić from Virovitica-Podravina County and to Zoran Piskač from Bjelovar-Bilogora County. The Horse Ploughing Championship was won by Josip Dorić from Brod-Posavina County.

It’s worth noting the contest isn’t taken lightly at all, as it’s carried out following guidelines of the World Ploughing Organization (WPO). Certified judges monitored the competition, ranking the participants not according to speed, but the quality of their work.

Once Croatia became a member of the WPO in 2005, local farmers have participated in championships all over the world, ploughing their way through Ireland, Lithuania, Austria, Slovenia, Sweden and New Zealand. The world championship was organised in Croatia in 2012 – in Biograd; the farmers went on to conquer Canada, France, Denmark, and England. This years, the World Ploughing Championship is to take place in Kenya, and our local forces will be represented by last years’ state champion Saša Višak and Zoran Piskač.

To add to the atmosphere, the crowd gathered to sing the unofficial ploughing anthem: nema kruha i kolača bez dobrih orača, the chorus said. No bread and cake without a good ploughing rake? No cake and bread without a steady ploughman’s hand? I’m sorry. I tried.




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