Playing Tejo in Colombia: The Subtle Art of Throwing Rocks at Gunpowder

So what do you need to play Colombia’s national sport? Beer. Gunpowder. And one good arm.

Tejo can be found throughout bars in Colombia and is a great way to throw a few back and keep your friends on their toes. The goal of the game is to throw your “tejo” (a weighted steel disc) inside the “bocin” (a metal ring) from over 70 feet away. The bocin is rigged with mechas, paper triangles filled with gunpowder. Hit a mecha and - BOOM.

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While explosions are certainly the attraction, the scoring is based more on accuracy:

9 points: the tejo lands in the bocin while also exploding one or more mechas
6 points: the tejo lands in the bocin without an explosion
3 points: exploding a mecha without landing the tejo in the bocin
1 point: landing closer to the bocin than your opponent

Games can be played between two people or in teams of up to six, with one throw for each player per round. If you have a knack for the game, you can throw the tejo to ensure it lands in the clay surrounding the bocin instead of bouncing off the walls and heading straight for someone’s drink.

It may seem pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of rules for more competitive games. More serious players frequent outdoor venues and sponsored professional teams and tournaments can be found all over the country.

For the true Colombia bar experience, head to a local spot and try your hand at this explosive game that you’ll likely never find in the states...