Fast and Feathered: The Unusual Allure of Ostrich Racing

Welcome to yet another unusual sport that fits our category of some of the least popular sports in the world! Ostrich racing is a competitive sport that involves racing with others on the back of an ostrich – just like horse racing or on wagons with wheels.

Ostriches are classified as birds although they cannot fly. They are regarded as the fastest birds in the world with an impressive speed of up to 43 miles per hour and being around 8 feet tall! This makes up for an interesting and challenging racing sport for humans!


So how is it played? A jockey – an ostrich handler carefully examines an ostrich before the beginning of the race to see if it can race properly. The ostrich is kept in a pen, similar to the one where horses are kept. If both animals are compared, then ostriches are considered more difficult to hold and ride on as compared to horses. As for the safety equipment, the rider wears a protective helmet while riding an ostrich.Ostrich racing is said to be native to parts of Africa mainly South Africa where it is majorly played. However, it has also spread to other regions of the world such as in the United States. Read below to find out more!

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Ostrich racing takes place in several parts of the United States. Particularly, in Chandler, Arizona there is an Ostrich Festival held every year, where common ostrich races are featured. Similarly, ostrich racing takes place in other states in the US such as Nevada – held at Virginia City, Iowa – held at Prairie Meadows, Minnesota – held at Canterbury Park, Louisiana – held at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans and Kentucky – held at Ellis Park. Ostrich racing also led to the establishment of ‘The Ostrich Farm” in 1992 – a tourist attraction in Jacksonville, Florida. Races were held there and it soon became one of the most popular early attractions in the history of Florida.


Q. What is the world record for an ostrich race?

Scientists have observed ostriches running up to a speed of 37 mph and sprinting up to a speed of 43 mph.

Q. What is ostrich racing?

Ostrich Racing is a competitive sport where people race each other on the backs of ostriches.

Q. Where is ostrich racing most popular?

Ostriches are the fastest birds on land. Ostrich Racing is common in South Africa and in the United States particularly in Arizona.

Q. What is the fastest bird in the world?

The ostrich is the world’s biggest and fastest bird on land.

Q. Can ostriches fly?

Ostriches cannot fly. But they are still regarded as birds because of the majority of characteristics that are of a bird.

Author’s opinion

When I was a kid, I saw an ostrich for the first time in an open ground. I vividly remember a very tall, white creature running from one place to another while making some squeaky sounds. It was both terrifying and amazing seeing a giant-sized bird running at the speed of light! Upon learning about this unique sport, Ostrich Racing – I was immediately reminded of that memory, and thinking that a person riding on the back of such a fast animal is beyond me! I would not recommend this sport, although watching someone ride on it would be quite fun!

What do you think?

Written by Usama

Usama J. is a passionate writer about the sports and works as an in house sports journalist at Openiun, and covered many international sporting events including ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.