Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko
Jutting out in the middle of a cornfield near Jetis, Bantul regency, Yogyakarta, are four red-and-white striped bamboo poles. There is a space is between the poles, which the villagers call kolongan (the pit). That space is used by “jockeys”, who are keeping a firm hold on their female pigeons, waiting for directions before letting the males take to flight.
“Flying very high, east, already starting to enter the lane,” a voice boomed from a walkie-talkie. This is the sign for the jockeys to see the direction in which their pigeons are flying so that they can guide the males to the females through the pits.
The race was held by the Bantul chapter of the Paguyuban Pecinta Merpati Kolongan Yogyakarta (PPMKY) or Yogyakarta Pigeon Lovers Association. More than 200 pigeons were registered to take part in the race, which is over a distance of 1.2 kilometers that must be covered in three minutes. Several types of pigeons took part in the race such as bluwuk, gambir, megan, semprang and tritis.
Udi Mulyanto, 46, one of the participants from Diro, Bantul, who is also the initiator of the PPMKY, deployed eight pairs in the race.
“I brought along Matahati, Mantra, Mister Elvis, Mosa, Famos, Histeria, Golden Boy and Abadon,” he said, referring to his pigeons’ names. “Only the female pigeons are given a name.”
The atmosphere became more exciting as the afternoon progressed. The hot weather did not discourage the participants who were wearing caps and jackets to keep the blazing sun at bay.
“This is a sensation unto itself watching the pigeons fly so high before they swoop down and enter the kolongan. Fantastic!” said Morse, another participant. [yan]