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How To Judge A Camel Beauty Contest

From BBC News:

How do you judge a camel beauty contest?

By Malcolm Borthwick
Editor, Middle East Business Report

February 10, 2010

They’re tall, they’re blonde, they’re elegant, and at the height of their careers they can command millions of dollars. Supermodels? No, camels.

In the remote Western Region of the United Arab Emirates, 28,000 of the humped beasts gathered at the end of January for what was billed as the biggest camel beauty contest ever

The pens bustled with activity. Thousands of people from around The Gulf watched the action from the stands. A handful of judges sifted through the camel pens picking out the top talent.

"The head is the most important thing and this is what we look at first," Mohammed Abdullah al-Mehairi, the head judge, told the BBC.

"We are looking for camels with big heads, firm ears, broad cheeks and big whiskers. There is no single important thing – the neck and body should be long, the hump and the back should be big, and we also look at the colour and posture of the camel."

Camels of different ages and types competed in 48 different categories – winning a total of $10m – during the 10-day festival, which ended on Monday.

"The most important competition is the al-Bayraq lap where breeders put forward their best 50 camels and parade them around the track," Mr al-Mehairi explained.

"Most of the competitors are female because… females look better."

Hamad Rashed al-Marri took a month to bring his camels from Saudi Arabia on foot…

"We start preparing the camels at least a week before the competition," Hamad told me inside his giant tent, as we sat drinking Arabic coffee.

"Every breeder has his own recipe for the camel. I give them a combination of hops, grass, and corn, and we also give them milk and water.

"We cover the camels because this helps keep their hair and skin shiny and healthy. If you leave a camel in the sun for too long its colour will turn pale."

Hamad had a successful festival – four of his camels won beauty contests, which netted him four 4×4 cars.

On top of this, he bought and sold millions of dollars worth of stock.

While the average camel goes for around $7,000, others sell for much more. As well as snapping up beauties, breeders also buy camels to race and for their milk…

But this festival is about more than just money, it’s about prestige and status.

Hundreds of families from all over the Gulf have set up camp. All the region’s famous camel breeding families are here. National and family pride is at stake.

"I cannot lie to you. People want to be number one, everyone wants to be number one," says Hamad.

"Why? Because you get the media coverage and you get the money and you get the satisfaction. It’s the best thing. People buy the camels, raise the camels, and spend money on the camels just to be number one."

And, for the record, the BBC has also supplied us with this check list:


  • Head and neck – 25 points awarded for large head, firm ears, long whiskers, shapely nose and lips, long neck
  • Upper body – 20 points awarded for large, shapely hump
  • Front – 15 points awarded for wide neck, strong shoulders, good feet
  • Rear – 10 points awarded for straight, strong legs
  • General appearance – 30 points awarded for shiny hair, overall health and fitness, space between toes

We rejoice to see that they are still able to appreciate the beauty of camels in the UAE. As we noted back in November 2007, they have been declared un-Islamic in Saudi Arabia.

From Alarabiya.net, via Memri:

Saudi Fatwa Bans Camel Beauty Contests

November 2, 2007

Members of Saudi Arabia’s Senior Clerics Association have issued a fatwa banning camel beauty contests.

The fatwa stated that the contests are prohibited because they include perversion, waste money on futility and ostentation, and are similar to games banned by the Koran.

Camel beauty contests have been held annually at this time for the past decade, and are part of Saudi tribal folklore.

We don’t want to hear about the “perversion.”

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “How To Judge A Camel Beauty Contest”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Decorum prevents my real answer of the Arab point of view which involves a tutu and what height stepladder ….

  2. MinnesotaRush says:

    Something about telling the new incoming legionairres that they use the camel to ride into town keeps coming to me?!?!?

    Go figger.

  3. proreason says:

    At last. A clue as to why Akmanutjob has never revealed his birth certificate.

  4. MinnesotaRush says:

    “How To Judge A Camel Beauty Contest” …

    Very carefully .. and .. from way over there. Camels spit.

  5. VMAN says:

    Oh silly me when saw the list of what the judges look for I thought they were talking about Michelle Obama.

  6. wirenut says:

    Their women are forced to wear tatersacks, yet the camel sports a G-string. Hmm? This is a tough one to keep PG.
    Camel toe spacing? Don’t even go there!

    • JohnMG says:

      What would you expect from people that even the Middle East Business Report refers to as “camel breeders”?

      Certainly this isn’t a Fruedian slip……..is it?

  7. Chuckk says:

    At least the camels don’t have to wear burkhas

  8. canary says:

    No performance classes for camels ?

    She is the prettiest camel I’ve ever seen.

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