One-humped beauties take the stage in Saudi Arabia

More than 50,000 camels participate in the country's month-long annual King Abdulaziz camel festival with this year's prize money equivalent to US$31 million (S$43.3 million).

REMAH, SAUDI ARABIA (REUTERS) - A beauty pageant for camels will be held in Saudi Arabia this month.

More than 50,000 camels will be participating in the country's annual King Abdulaziz camel festival. This year's prize money is a record 115 million riyals (S$43 million).

The event was started in 1999 by local bedouins who wanted to stage a camel beauty contest.

"We produce good quality (camels). We, and the Bedouin in general, gather and meet here at the festival, camel merchants come here and buy our camels and they take part in the festival, which is a kind of support for all of society," said camel breeder Mehsi al-Dossary.

The festival features daily auctions in which camels can fetch anything from US$15,000 (S$21,000) for an ordinary domestic animal to US$270,000 for a prize specimen.

Around 10,000 international visitors are expected to attend, including some of the top breeders in the Gulf region.

Visitors can buy, sell and show off their camels.

There are also professionals on hand to provide advice on riding and camel care and an exhibition on the role of camels in Saudi history and culture.

The festival, which covers 12 miles (19km) of the ad-Dahna desert, runs until April 15. There will be activities catering to families and children.