Starface gallops to victory at Negril Donkey Races
Westmoreland homeboy Jovaine Andrews and his donkey, Starface, galloped to victory at the finals of the Rotary Club of Negril's 10th Annual Donkey Races, at the Wavz Beach in the resort town on Sunday.
Starface and his master, who were sponsored by the Drifters Bar, eclipsed 18 others, including the second and third-place finishers, which were sponsored by Seastar Inn and Travellers Beach Resort, respectively.
Andrews, who hails from the Retreat community in Little London, told Western Focus that he did not undertake any special training of his donkey, but was confident from the start that the animal had the potential to win.
"Mi no really prepare. Mi just come and know say mi a dweet (win). Eva from me a little bwoy I was riding donkeys. Me and mi father ride go goat bush and dem thing deh," Andrews explained. "A every year ting fi me. Only last year mi neva deh here and di year before mi come second.
"A my personal donkey, so mi no really have to train. If you don't sit down good on di donkey, dem won't move fast; mi just relax. Some of the riders are not used to the donkeys and some of the donkeys not used to the riders, so the donkey no obey dem... . I have won the trophy three other times. It feels nice to win it in 2015; give thanks and praise," he added.
The antics of the donkeys during the races, as usual, evoked huge bouts of laughter as some of the animals refused to respond to the urgings of their jockeys, shrugging them off their backs. Other donkeys ambled back to the start line, while some stopped to nibble on tufts of grass mid-race, or walk off the racetrack. Other donkeys stood still and refused to move and had to be forcefully pulled around the track by their embarrassed jockeys. Some jockeys also tried to jump on the backs of the donkeys and missed as the animals walked off, resulting in even more laughter.
President-elect Elaine Bradley told Western Focus that the sponsorship support for the donkeys was overwhelming. This year, for the first time, a donkey and rider dubbed Team USA were sponsored by a tourist, Baltimore resident Jesse Stovall.
This year, we had more persons approaching to sponsor than we had donkeys, Bradley told Western Focus. "For the first, we had a guest sponsoring a donkey. He expressed his interest from last year's event and came back mid last year and paid from way back then. That's how keen he was. It's a good thing he did."
Incumbent President Richard Warren told Western Focus that the event was a tremendous success.
"Every year, we seem to be growing and growing. I'm sure when we do the figures today, we will be running over 4,000 (patrons). Last year, we had over 3,000. It was a huge success today. The events were smooth, the donkeys gave as much fun as they possibly could. It was a huge success indeed," he said.
Sponsors of the event included Travellers Beach Resort, Negril Tree House, Bourbon Beach, Catcha Falling Star, Vinci Construction, Sandals Resorts, Vinci Construction, among others.