Thursday, 7 August 2014

Tejo : A Colombian sport involving, gunpowder, explosions and beer. Get In!

On discovering that Colombia's national past time involves drinking beer while throwing heavy metal objects at gunpowder filled targets I knew I had found the sport for me and the search for a game was on.

Origins of Tejo (Te - ho) are uncertain but may have involved indigenous people throwing gold discs at targets.  The modern form of the game involves throwing a large metal disc (Tejo) weighing approximately 680 grams across a pitch of twenty metres.
A tejo
The target is a wooden box approximately a metre square and filled with heavy clay.  Within the clay is set a metal ring upon which are placed paper triangle packages filled with gun powder.

The target
Hitting the ring with the Tejo causes the gunpowder to explode with a spectacular flash and bang.  Neat, eh?  Drinking beer and shouting loudly is also compulsory.
I first came across Tejo at the end of our Ciudad Perdida trek catching a brief glimpse of a game.

The game is hugely popular in central Colombia and arriving in the Zona Cafetera was always going to provide an opportunity, fortunately being savvy to traveller needs many bars and Coffee plantations have established the enthusiasm of backpackers for beer and explosions so Tejo courts are not hard to find.

We visited the Don Elias coffee plantation for a tour, this is about a 45 minute walk out of Salento so the invite for a beer and a game of Tejo was never going to see much resistance. We played at La Aurora a new restaurant starting up just on the left before Don Elias. The guys there were great, explaining the rules and tactics to us before letting us loose.
Professional Tejo Technique

Mad Skills

Having only met one other Kiwi in South America we have now met four in three days and joined a couple from Wellington for a 'torneos Relampago' as the tournaments are called.
One point to the Kiwis

There is an official scoring system of points for nearest the metal ring, landing in the metal ring and of course explosions.  We eventually lost 21  - 16 after a hard fought battle.

Shameless plug for our hosts at La Aurora


  1. So is that a game for gentlemen or hooligans played by...?


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