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The San Francisco Basque Cultural Center hosted the 34th Annual NABO Pilota Championship


One of the most exciting games of the Championship was the Women’s paleta goma final, Evelyne Etcharren and Maitexa Cuburu (SFBCC) versus Michelle Saldubehere and Teresa Iparraguirre (KCBC)
One of the most exciting games of the Championship was the Women’s paleta goma final, Evelyne Etcharren and Maitexa Cuburu (SFBCC) versus Michelle Saldubehere and Teresa Iparraguirre (KCBC)


The San Francisco Basque Cultural Center hosted the 34th Annual NABO Pilota Championships over a two day period. It marked the 12th time the Basque Cultural Center hosted the 'Txapelketa'. Teams representing four Basque entities (Boise Fronton Association, Chino Basque Club, Kern County Basque Club, Basque Cultural Center) competed in eight categories in a final filled Saturday. NABO holds its annual pilota championship in conjunction with the Basque Cultural Center’s end of summer Basque festival and Championship Saturday saw good crowds watch eight finals.

South San Francisco, CA, USA. Championship Saturday, which was preceded by local tournaments over the summer as well as semifinal matchups on Friday, started off early with the Class B Paleta Goma final featuring the defending NABO Champions from Kern County Basque Club (KCBC), Echeverria and Fanucci, get off to a rough start early in their final and were never able to fully recover as the steady play of the Basque Cultural Center (BCC) team of Urruty/Chiramberro was consistent  enough to win 35-25.

Class B handball finals would see the defending champs Gratien Etchebehere and John Falxa from the BCC defeat the duo of Lino Zabala/Edu Sarria from the Boise Fronton Association (BFA) 25-17 in a game that would see the teams battle back in forth until the BCC team pulled away towards the end.

In one of the most exciting games of the Championships, the Women’s paleta goma final would see the duo of Evelyne Etcharren and Maitexa Cuburu from the BCC jumped out to an early commanding lead (16-5) only to see the early nerves of the KCBC team of Michelle Saldubehere and Teresa Iparraguirre be replaced by great play by both teams and a furious comeback by the ladies from Bakersfield. In the end, the ladies from the BCC would go on to win 35-29; a truly entertaining game to watch as an appetizer before lunch.

The afternoon games would feature games with lopsided results in various categories. In Handball singles, Javier de Luz, the native of Zumarraga, Gipuzkoa would defeat Remi Cuburu 22-5. The BCC representatives of  Paleta Goma Veterans (over 50 years young) Javier Andueza and Pierre Irola (both proud representatives of the US team that competed at the World Championships in Mexico City in 1982) defeated the tandem from BFA ,Lino Zabala and John Aldape, 35-12. The same would be said in Women’s Paleta Goma Argentina as Bushman-Ocafrain/Etcharren  from BCC would defeat Ziganda/Iribarren-Gorrindo from BFA by a similar score.  In Handball Doubles, Class A the team of De Luz/Petrissans would defeat the local team from the BCC Christophe Alfaro and Remi Cuburu 25-17.

The much anticipated final in Class A Paleta Goma,  between the defending NABO Champions from KCBC,  Patrick Etchebarne and John Bidart and the BCC tandem of Gabriel Dalia and Robert Iriartborde would be close at the beginning but in the end the general overall steady and poised play of Dalia/Iriartborde would out do the consistent play of John Bidart and Patrick Etchebarne (nagged by pregame back concerns) 35-17.

The NABO Pilota Txapelketa in 2010, the 35th edition, will be heading north to the Anduiza Fronton in downtown Boise, Idaho to coincide with the Jaialdi Festival and the NABO Convention to be held San Inazio weekend the last weekend of July.

Related links

NABO Pilota

United States Pelota Federation


by Xabier Berrueta

A big Eskerrik Asko has to go out to the NABO Pilota Chairman, Evelyne Etcharren, who has been an impulse and driving force not only in these 2009 NABO Txapelketa but over the past few years in driving the message of pilota, and in my opinion and of many, the most influential in looking to the development and expansion of pilota; especially children’s pilota and the resurgence of women’s pilota within NABO.

My first true pilota organizing experience with Evelyne was in the months leading up to the World Pilota Council’s first Basque Pilota Championships in September of 2007. Quite frankly, I had my doubts of the success of the tournament, but when Evelyne joined the organizing team and brought the meticulous attention to detail that the organizing committee needed, the end result and the opinion of the over 100 players, coaches, media members from eight countries as well as all pelotzales….was one of the best, if not the best organized tournaments that they had participated in. To this day many pilota related relationships have been nurtured and continue to this day. Aurrera Pilota!!! Eskerrik Asko Evelyne a true Izarra. Pilota’s future in NABO is bright.

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