Archive Photo Confirms Camel Racing Popular At Washingbay Sports In 1930s
A 90-year-old photo which was found in the attic of a house near Brocagh last week has confirmed long-standing suspicions that camel-racing was a major pastime in east Tyrone in the early part of last century and was even competed for by Dubai and Saudi Arabian jockeys during the world-famous Washingbay Sports.
Experts have long suspected that potholes in the general area are a legacy issue from years of camels tramping the pathways and loanans to train before the sports day. Additionally, it may also explain the persistent rumours that every year half a dozen local women ran off to Saudi Arabia on the back of a camel to pursue studies in oil refineries and palace-building.
Local historian Imelda Cassidy (89) was delighted at the finding:
“This photo confirms what I saw with my own eyes as a child. There were loads of camels dandering about whilst the tug-of-war and egg and spoon race was on. At that age, we just thought they were native to east Tyrone. It wasn’t the only humping that went on that those sports but sure that’s for another day.”
Plans to reintroduce camels to the area have been strongly opposed by locals who fear an overwhelming rise in potholes would make all modes of transport redundant for at least 50 years.