2016 Muensing Oxen Race In Bavaria
Credit: Matej Divizna/Getty Images

Clad in lederhosen and felt hats, a group of intrepid competitors lined up for the quadrennial “Ochsenrennen,” or oxen race, in Bavaria, in southern Germany on Sunday.

As the race began, many of the animals were caught up in the excitement of the day and the 10,000-person crowd, and wandered aimlessly on the course. Despite prodding from jockeys and their helpers, several contestants appeared not to finish the race, which took place in the small town of Münsing, home to about 4,000 residents.

The competition is a local tradition that has been carried out every four years for at least the past two decades. Jockeys ride bareback on oxen in competition for a golden ox trophy, according to local reports. A feast of roasted oxen usually follows the races as a celebration.

Bazi the ox, ridden by jockey Michael Pfatrisch, eventually won the race, The Local reported. Pfatrisch revealed his secret weapon to journalists after the competition: He fed Bazi his favorite food of apples by hand before the race to keep him happy.

Animal races aside, Bavaria has long attracted tourists from within Germany and throughout the world for its scenic castles, rural charm and renowned beer.

The region’s 16-day beer extravaganza known as Oktoberfest, draws millions of visitors each year. Around 5.9 million people attended the 2015 festivities and consumed 114 oxen, 50 calves and 7.7 million liters of beer, according to the organizers. This year’s festival begins in Munich starting September 17.

Jess McHugh is a digital reporter for Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @MchughJess.