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A workshop on rural Basque sports had audience members competing at UC Santa Barbara


Some of the workshop participants along with professor Arkaitz Moreno in green (photo courtesy of AMoreno)
Some of the workshop participants along with professor Arkaitz Moreno in green (photo courtesy of AMoreno)


The University of California Santa Barbara was very satisfied with the workshop on Basque Rural Sports conducted by Professor Arkaitz Moreno on March 2nd. The workshop was made up of two parts: a lecture about rural sports on the one hand and on the other, a competition, pure and simple. The audience members went out on the patio and there they competed in some of the more typical events, appropriate for their strength. The event was very well received and will take place again next year in Santa Barbara for sure and maybe at other universities such as BSU and Bakersfield, where courses on Basque language and culture are also held.

Santa Barbara, CA.  On March 2nd there was a practical conference held at the University of California Santa Barbara on Basque rural sports organized by Diana Palenzuela, Basque language and culture teacher at this university.  The event was supported by the Etxepare Basque Institute and was conducted by Professor Arkaitz Moreno, who came from the Basque Country to give the talk.

Nearly 50 people attended the event, including students and professors, "as well as an older gentleman from the Basque Country who was exiled to the US due to the Civil War and who didn’t want to miss the opportunity to learn about Basque rural sports".  The workshop was comprised of two parts: the first a lecture where Moreno explained the origins, development, types and the current status of Basque rural sports in the Basque Country today, and the second, was more practical giving the audience the opportunity to compete in four events: lokotxak, txingak, gizon probak and sokatira.

Including bets

“We had to use unusual materials and improvise some of the apparatus for the competition since it is difficult to find the same kinds of materials in the US,” Moreno explained to  “We divided everyone into four groups and had them compete against each other.  While some were competing, others were placing their bets.”

In addition to the practical side, Moreno also tried to stimulate the conversation by giving Basque pilota handballs to those who could answer his questions.  “They really enjoyed the practical part, they were really competing against each other, but always in the spirit of fun,” he added.

Once again in 2013

Following the workshop, Viola Miglio, coordinator of the Iberian Studies Program at the UCSB was very satisfied with its result, and summed it up as being “very dynamic and original.” Miglio also showed interest in repeating the experience next year, and is even considering the possibility of extending it to other universities with Basque studies such as Bakersfield or Boise. 

-More workshop photos here

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