Camel pageant is among World Cup’s sidelines attractions

Dec 1, 2022, 4:35 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2022, 6:04 pm
A member of the AlKuwari family shows the trophy after winning the first prize at the Mzayen World ...

A member of the AlKuwari family shows the trophy after winning the first prize at the Mzayen World Cup, a pageant held in the Qatari desert some 15 miles away from Doha and soccer's World Cup, in Ash- Shahaniyah, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

              Camels owners enjoy tea as they wait for results during a pageant at the Qatar camel Mzayen Club, in Ash- Shahaniyah, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
            
              Fayez Ahmed alKuwari poses with the trophy and a money prize after winning with his family of camel owners the first prize at a camel pageant at the Qatar camel Mzayen Club, in Ash- Shahaniyah, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
            
              The decorations of a camel shine during a pageant at the Qatar camel Mzayen Club, in Ash- Shahaniyah, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A camel keeper of the alKuwari family celebrates after winning the first prize at a pageant, at the Qatar camel Mzayen Club, in Ash-Shahaniyah, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              Camel parade with flags during a pageant at the Qatar camel Mzayen Club, in Ash- Shahaniyah, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
            
              A member of the AlKuwari family shows the trophy after winning the first prize at the Mzayen World Cup, a pageant held in the Qatari desert some 15 miles away from Doha and soccer's World Cup, in Ash- Shahaniyah, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

ASH-SHHANIYA, Qatar (AP) — Like all good pageant contestants, Nazaa’a displayed not only dazzling beauty but also poise and grace.

She batted her eyelashes and flashed a toothy smile for the television cameras at the Mzayen World Cup, a pageant held in the Qatari desert about 15 miles (25 kilometers) away from Doha and soccer’s World Cup.

Nazaa’a, mind you, is a camel.

Think Westminster Dog Show crossed with the Miss America Pageant, except for, well, camels.

Nazaa’a is a majestic light-haired creature that overcame several preliminary rounds and hundreds of other camels to win the pageant at Qatar Camel Mzayen Club on Friday.

The event, which was designed to bring cultural awareness to World Cup visitors, was sponsored by the Ministry of Sports and Youth, in conjunction with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the local World Cup organizing committee.

Nazaa’a was one of 15 camels who competed for the crown, parading by fans while wearing bejeweled collars and draped with strings of gemstones.

“I thought our camel was better than Ronaldo and Messi,” joked Jassim al Kuwari, part of the family that owns Nazaa’a.

These events are held regularly throughout the Middle East, where the people have connected with camels for generations.

“This is our culture. This is from long time ago, from our fathers and grandfathers,” Al Kuwari said. “Today is a competition, a beauty competition. We like these camels. We give them names. It’s like a family.”

Visitors were greeted by a camel jingle “Welcome to the Camel Competition” and served Karak, a spiced tea with milk. Owners and their families sat in an air-conditioned luxury tent with red velvet chairs and a glass wall to watch the competition.

The main attraction were the pure-bred female camels. Competitors makes several passes in front of a stand of fans that cheer for their favorite. There’s also a milking competition, with the prize going to the camel that produces the most milk.

Make no mistake, this a serious contest: A doctor is on staff to make sure the animals don’t use fillers or Botox to make them more beautiful. Last December dozens of camels were disqualified from the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Saudi Arabia for cosmetic enhancements.

Then there’s the money: The winner, runner-up and third place camels all receive trophies. Nazaa’s owners earned 200,000 Qatari riyals ($55,000). The camel that produces the most milk wins 15,000 riyal.

“I have been with camels and their contests since I was a child,” camel owner Hamad al Greissi said. “Camels were there before planes and cars. They were called the ships of the desert. after modern vehicles, the camels became less popular, but they still hold a big place in our culture.”

___

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ohio train derailment causes causes fire, home evacuations

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — A train derailed in an Ohio town near the Pennsylvania border and caused a large fire followed by orders for area residents to evacuate their homes Friday night, reports said. A post on the East Palestine, Ohio, city Facebook page around 11 p.m. said an evacuation order had been issued […]
1 day ago
Pope Francis delivers his speech as he meets with priests, deacons, consecrated people and seminari...
Associated Press

Pope encourages South Sudanese, will raise plight of women

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Pope Francis sought Saturday to console the long-suffering people of South Sudan as he opened his first full day in a country beset by conflict, poverty and humanitarian crises, encouraging priests and nuns to serve their flocks by joining in their tears. After arriving in the world’s newest country on […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Indian police nab over 2,000 men for illegal child marriages

GUWAHATI, India (AP) — Indian police have arrested more than 2,000 men in a crackdown on illegal child marriages involving girls under the age of 18 in a northeastern state, officials said Saturday. Those arrested this week included more than 50 Hindu priests and Muslim clerics for allegedly performing marriages for underage girls in Assam, […]
1 day ago
FILE - The Starbucks logo is seen on a storefront, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston Starbucks repor...
Associated Press

Starbucks misses sales, revenue estimates as China falters

Starbucks reported lower-than-expected sales in its fiscal first quarter, with COVID store shutdowns in China overshadowing stronger results elsewhere.
1 day ago
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi speaks during a news conference of the Association of Sou...
Associated Press

ASEAN vows to conclude pact with China on disputed territory

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Southeast Asian foreign ministers vowed to finalize negotiations with China over a proposed pact aimed at preventing conflicts in the disputed South China Sea in their annual retreat on Saturday in Indonesia’s capital. In the final session of their two-day meeting, the ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also […]
1 day ago
A girl looks at a photo of the famed mountain lion known as P-22 as the exhibit wall is covered wit...
Associated Press

Famed LA mountain lion’s death shines light on tribal talks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The life of Los Angeles’ most famous mountain lion followed a path known only to the biggest of Hollywood stars: Discovered on-camera in 2012, the cougar adopted a stage name and enjoyed a decade of celebrity status before his tragic death late last year. The popular puma gained fame as P-22 […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Camel pageant is among World Cup’s sidelines attractions