A Basque in Boise

Pelotaris ‘Made in Euskadi’ in San Francisco

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Kapito Harri, a team of Basque pelota players from Iparralde, will arrive in Boise at the end of this week to play an exhibition game of Joko Garbi on Saturday, February 22nd. The team spent some time in San Francisco during the 32nd Anniversary of the Basque Center there, where they also played several exhibition games. The pelotaris from Iparralde were not the only ones making the trip to California. A delegation of pelotaris sent by the Basque Pelota Federation were also lucky enough to participate in the festivities.

Basque newspaper Deia published a very nice article last week (in Spanish), that I wanted to share with all of you. As always, please pardon anything that got lost in translation.

Anniversary of the Basque Center


Aner Gondra – Thursday, February 13, 2014 – Updated at 06:02 h

The fronton in San Francisco hosts baseball games throughout the year (Basque Federation of Pelota). Photo by Deia.

The fronton in San Francisco hosts baseball games throughout the year. Here, players from Ustaritz. Photo by Deia.

BILBAO – Their skin still warm from the sheets, four pelotaris left yesterday from Loiu’s airport  at 7.00 am. The final destination, after a layover in Frankfurt, was San Francisco California. They were part of the delegation that the Basque Pelota Federation sends to the Californian city to participate in the acts of the Euskal Etxea’s 32nd anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the San Francisco Klika. “This initiative has been several years in the making,” says Patxi Jauregi, President of the Federation. “The delegation goes to represent the Basque Pelota Federation and the Basque Country in general.”

Four Basque pelota players will show off their skills in an unusual court for them. “There are other pelotaris who travel from the French side of the Basque Country”, Jauregi added. “We are trying to make the game of pelota a bit more global. The new Board of the Federation wants to highlight this aspect. Pelota, besides being one of our sports, it’s part of our culture. We want to use as a way to convey our roots and our way of being. “

As in recent years, San Francisco is not willing to pass up the opportunity to enjoy a few good games of pelota: “It is the 32nd anniversary of the Basque Center and several events are organized throughout the weekend. Many people gathered during this holiday weekend: people who have lived there for many years and even many who travel from the Basque Country to be there those days. “


Left to right: Xabier Tolosa, Aitor Gorrotxategi, Fernando Palacios, Jon Zabala, Paul Ojuel, Aitzol Dorronsoro. Photo by Deia.

Left to right: Xabier Tolosa, Aitor Gorrotxategi, Fernando Palacios, Jon Zabala, Paul Ojuel, and Aitzol Dorronsoro in San Francisco in 2013. Photo by Deia.

The pelotaris who left from Loiu will play several games against each other, changing partners. “It can be four or five games in two days, then there will be other categories, such as pala, where even players from San Francisco will also participate. There will also be pelota games with players from Iparralde who travel there for the occasion.”

The San Francisco fronton is inside the Basque Center and the rest of the year hosts pelota games regularly. It is the perfect place for Basque delegates from Euskadi to strengthen the ties with new agents. “I use the seven day trip to make contact with people from both the pelota  and the business world. I want to see how to better promote pelota in general and that pelota be our hallmark and serve to bring our roots and our way of being as Basques. We want to do well in this aspect, we want to bet heavily on it. We are also tucked into the international circuit of Jai Alai, where we think we can arrange something very powerful. Ultimately, what we want, it to work for the good of our country. It is the concept we are pampering to pursue our goal: to be known around the world,” explains Patxi Jauregi.

As expected, the pelotaris travel to the U.S. with their illusion as passport, as the opportunity to play in another continent is very attractive. “They are very excited, nobody wants to be replaced. On this aspect, the pelotaris have been very good. They arrived filled with hope and wanting to spend a good week in San Francisco. Besides being active and playing pelota, they want to know everything. The people there are also very eager for us to get there. As I mentioned before, they welcome us with open arms.”


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