Go, Big O! Arizona’s Great Ostrich Race!

March 17th, 2014 · No Comments

by Jane St. Clair

Once this cowboy-hippie moseyed into town riding an ostrich. Man Riding Ostrich Everyone in Arizona thought the hombre was nuts but nevertheless, the stranger went about convincing people that ostriches were better than cattle and horses.

An ostrich is much taller than a horse, he’d say. Ostrich with a Sweet FaceThis bird stands eight to nine feet tall and weighs about 350 pounds. They run much faster and they can pull chariots!

Ostriches can pull chariots

–your average Big O can run 42 miles an hour.

Okay, they are a little funny-looking with their long skinny necks and big bottoms,Jennifer 1 but they are still the world’s largest bird.

Their meat is better for you than beef.  It is so lean that it ain’t going to give you a cardiac any time soon. Ostrich eggs are so big that you need an hour to hard-boil them.Finally ostriches A Bird's Portraitare feed-efficient, so let’s hear it for saving the environment!

While we still have more cattle than ostrich in Arizona, we do have an annual Ostrich Festival every March taking place at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Arizona.  The big event is the Great Ostrich Race.

First the crowd gets revved up
The crowd revs upby watching the pig races, however.

Cook's Racing Pigs

This is Green Eggs and Ham racing Yellow Submarine, Red Roaster and Blue Plate Special.

Green eggs and ham

After you have gotten so excited and so revved up from watching the pig races, you now can watch two different kinds of big bird races. 

For the first kind, your riders are on saddles.  This competitor is Jennifer, a librarian from Tucson, and this race was neck and neck!Neck and neck race

The second race is a Ben Hur event! 

Chariot Race 1

In this race the riders dress like gladiators and their rides are pulling chariots!  Amazing!

Chariot Race 2

So far there are still more cowboys than ostrich-boys in Arizona, and more people still go to rodeo than to the Ostrich Races, but give ‘er time, as the ostrich-boys say. One of these days Arizona will be the home of ostriches everywhere!  Go Big O, we love you!

For more information on the Ostrich Festival, see

To visit a working Big O ranch, try the website of the Rooster Cogburn Ranch

A New Kind of Burger in Arizona

Tags: Uncategorized