First published on 18 Apr 2012. Updated on 18 Apr 2012.
Brooklyn artist Duke Riley held his race The Rematch
in Zhujiajiao on Sunday afternoon. The rat, in this case some kind of capybara, was expected to reclaim its title, not only as the defending champion but also because Riley himself was born in a rat year (and therefore a cheat).
When a busload of spectators from Shanghai arrived, Riley was holding a half-empty bottle of something brown.
As was the tiger.
Some of the animals, like this lap pony, didn't need too much encouragement to embark their racing boats.
Others did. This is the ox.
Here, in the foreground, is the dog boat, decorated with bones and fire hydrants, leading the other animals to the race course.
Here come the roosters. Judging by the egg one of them laid before the race, at least one was really a chicken. Each boat had a costume-headed singer who performed anthems for their animals. The canopy designs were created by local kids.
Led by the rabbit boat, the remaining vessels make their way to the start line. Rabbits in hutches were hung from the ceiling of the rabbit boat.
The part of the tiger was performed magnificently by Elia Stamps, who went to art school with Riley.
That's the dragon boat headed over to the start line. The dragon was some kind of Alsatian-sized iguana.
Go! The race was a lightning fast drag from over there to over here, Fangsheng Bridge.
Against the odds (several bets were placed, both in Zhujiajiao and in New York), two of the heaviest boats - the horse and the ox - took the lead.
That's the horse on the left and the cow on the right. The confetti comes courtesy of the hundreds of spectactors that crowded onto the centuries old stone bridge.
A photo finish. The horse wins!
Suck it, monkey, rooster, tiger, rat, dog, the rest of you.
The winning boatman ...
is presented with his prize, a 32" flatscreen...
And a trophy made from plastic flower pots and garden hose.
So that's it. Rats, you're done. Horses, congratulations!Click here to read an interview with Duke Riley and see videos of his past works.