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Mendata (Bizkaia) will pay hommage to the Basque Sheepherders of America with a Rodeo and a Country Festival


Poster of the tribute to Basque Sheepherders in Mendata
Poster of the tribute to Basque Sheepherders in Mendata


This Saturday the village of Mendata, in Bizkaia, will turn into a town of the Far West, complete with a rodeo, a country dance and a sheepwagon parade. It is all part of a tribute to the Basque sheepherders of America that will include the planting of an aspen tree and music with Gontzal Mendibil and Kupela. Julian Iantzi will present the event.

Mendata, Bizkaia. Mendata will pay tribute to the men and women who immigrated to America to work as sheepherders with a big country feast this Saturday. Many people from this litlle village near Gernika had to go to the US and Argentina in the 50s and 60s, and the local authorities want to make this experience known and show their apreciation to them.

"Many mendatarras are part of the Basque Diaspora, and we want to pay them this heartfelt tribute, because they have kept their roots no matter how far, and they have been excellent ambassadors of our culture and language", said Mendata's mayor, Joseba Mallea.

Rodeo and country dance

The program of the feast is very extensive and original. The day will begin with a sheepwagon parade, with the locals dressed like in the Far West. The parade will go from Elexalde to Mendaturi, with the lively trikitixa music of the group Kupela.

At the bolatoki in Mendaturi local actors will play the farewell of a young sheeprherder who is about to go to America, and Basque songwriter Gontzal Mendibil will sing. At 2:00 pm an aspen tree will be planted, remembering all the mesagges carved by the sheepherders in the forests of the West. Also, a monolith with the legend “Mendatako herriak Ameriketan artzain ibilitakoari” (Mendata to the Sheepherders in America) will be unveiled.

Next, a "country dance" will help work up an appetite for the luncheon, that will begin at 3:00 pm. At 5:30 pm there will be a "Mendata rodeo western noon", presented by Julian Iantzi. The day will end with a dance to the music of Kupela.

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