Camel Cup this July at Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia


Camel Cup this July at Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia - 2015

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Every July the outback town of Alice Springs in the country's Northern Territory devotes a day to racing these "ships of the desert."

Today is known as the Lasseters Camel Cup and it was started in 1970 to raise funds for the local charities.

So, what's involved? Camels are notoriously temperamental. "Racing them can prove a nightmare for riders and handlers but fantastic viewing for spectators," the event's website states. Camels run up to 40 mph on a track created for the event, a spokeswoman said.

It's not for everyone - riding that is. Only professional riders and their camels are allowed to enter the races. Last year, Hannah Purss, 24, rode to victory to claim the Gold Camel Cup and the $1,700 in prize money.A

Among the races, there's a "honeymoon handicap" where husbands start off on camels and must stop to pick up their brides before galloping to the finish. Between races there's bellydancing and rickshaw races where two riders and two haulers switch places midway through the course. This year there's talk of plenty more attractions.

And the 5,000 spectators drawn to the event each year are encouraged to wear Kentucky Derby-style hats too.

The annual Camel Cup will be held at Blatherskite Park on the 2nd Saturday in July.

Website

Camel Cup