Although I’ve posted photos of this event before, they were not taken in the relatively new Hérens Arena which, I have to say, is perfect for watching this magnificent spectacle. The Val d’Hérens cows naturally ‘fight’ by either psyching the opposition out, so that they walk away, or by locking horns and pushing each other until one gives way. This can take anywhere from a few seconds to 20 minutes, but the top 7 in each category are awarded a fabulous cowbell. (I should add that apart from the occasional bloody nose, the cows are very, VERY rarely harmed during this competition).
The categories are defined either by the age of the cows or by their weight – with Category III being from 529 to 623 Kg, Category II from 624 to 684 Kg and the Category I from 686 to 815 Kg (which is about 108 to 128 stones or 3/4’s of a US ton).
It’s still a bit of a mystery to me how they whittle down the 16 or so starters (in each Category ‘final’) to the eventual winners, as it all seems a bit haphazard to start with. But it’s a very social occasion and, today, it was very nice to see some local farmers walking away with many of the prizes. Congratulations to Antoine, Jean-Paul, Johann and Marius. 🙂