Tuesday 7 April 2015

A Day At The Races

It's a Good Friday tradition to go to the Sattenen Reindeer Races, which were held this year for the 30th time. Sattanen is a village very close to Sodankylä, and the event is a place to meet and socialise, and enjoy reindeer races as well as most delicious reindeer soup. These races happen all over Lapland every spring, they are a firm part of life in the North. The races take place on a prepared track, a large loop, with fences on both sides. The start is always in pairs of two. The above photo is taken some 200 m from the start, and these two are having a really tight race.

Even after completing most of the lap, it's still an open race. The riders have to be light and nimble, and often they are ladies. There are often less jockeys than reindeer, and thus they race reindeer of different owners.

Another tradition is the lasso competition, which is part of the same event. Lassos are used to catch reindeer and precision is needed to get the loop around their antlers. Here the vertical poles are used as targets. There's a time limit of six minutes for five successful throws from as many distances. The fastest competitor wins.

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