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Rapper Swizz Beatz’s Camel Racing Team Competes for $21 Million Prize In Major Dubai Race

Did you know rapper Swizz Beatz seems to be the first American to venture into camel racing in Saudi Arabia? He owns the successful team Saudi Bronx and the team will compete in the prestigious AlUla Camel Cup, from April 24 to April 27. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Swizz Beatz attends Gordon Parks Foundation Awards Dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 19, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Prize money for winning camels can exceed $2 million, and the annual championship in Al Marmoum, Dubai, offers a staggering prize of 80 million dirhams, equivalent to $21 million, to the victorious team, in addition to luxury cars and trophies, Day Out Dubai reported.

Camels, Camels, Camels

Having invested millions since 2020 and acquiring 52 camels named after his kids and famous friends, Beatz is apparently committed to the obscure sport, according to Robb Report. 

Outside of the U.S., camel racing is as common as horse racing, with camels known to be faster than horses. These desert-adapted animals’ top speed over shorter distances is reputed to be 40 mph, and they can average 25 mph for one hour and 12 mph for up to 18 hours, according to Illinois State University.

According to Top End Sports, camel racing is popular in the Middle East, North Africa, parts of Asia, and Australia. It finds its greatest popularity in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan, Mongolia, and Australia. Major events are hosted in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

The United Arab Emirates, recognized as the focal point of camel racing in the Middle East, holds races from October to April, featuring typically 25-30 registered camels competing in each event.

As Finiurah previously reported, Beatz gifted rapper French Montana a camel for his 38th birthday. The cost of camels varies depending on factors like age, size, and breed, with prices ranging from $5,500 to $15,500. 

At the time, Beatz had a dozen racing camels in 2022. Robb Report notes his team has already won numerous trophies in competitions across the UAE and Qatar, with Beatz setting his sights on mastering the sport before expanding it in the U.S.

Beatz became interested in camel racing through friends in the Middle East and did extensive research to learn about the sport, including what to look for in champion camels and how to find the best trainers, according to The National News.

He sees his involvement as a way to fuse cultures and educate people about the tradition of camel racing in Saudi Arabia4. Beatz has launched merchandise for his “Saudi Bronx” brand and roped in celebrity friends like DJ Khaled to celebrate his team’s victories, Variety has reported.

The rapper/producer is also the co-founder of Good Intentions, a creative consultancy in Riyadh that promotes the understanding of Saudi culture.

While garnering interest in camels and overcoming stigmas associated with human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia could pose challenges for Beatz in promoting the sport, it’s clear that camel racing is a multi-million dollar industry in the Middle East. With substantial cash prize winnings, sales of champion camels, and operational expenses, the allure of the sport is evident, according to News 8 Now.

“The easiest thing that I would tell them is to take a trip to the country before we have the conversation so you can be educated on what’s happening today,” Swizz Beatz told Bloomberg regarding criticism of performing in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s a very good investment if your teams are winning,” Beatz told Bloomberg.

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