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Force Basque

The Traditional Basque Strong Men Games

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Based on life on the farm and different agricultural tasks, the 'Force Basque' games allowed farmers to measure their strength and endurance.

4 categories: farm, building, forest and field work are the basis of the different tests which became 'la Force Basque'

'soka tira': Tug of War
soka tira This is an old game, practiced in many countries and for which there is an international federation since 1964. 2 teams of 8 players (though the number may vary) try to pull the opposing team over a certain distance (about 4 meters).

'zaku lasterketa' : Sack race
A 120 meter race carrying an 80kg sack of corn or wheat over their shoulder. The race can be individual or a relay of 3 team members known as the 'contrebandiers' or smugglers version.

'txingas' : a race with weights
The players have to carry two 40kg weights, one in each hand, as far as possible within the time allotted. If a weight touches the ground it's game over for that participant.

Orga joko

'orga joko' : cart lifting
The player has to raise a 350kg farm cart at arms length and pivot it on its shaft, the only part that should remain in contact with the ground. There is no time limit, but the game is over when the cart touches the ground.

'ingude altxatzea' : anvil lifting
Players compete to lift an 18kg anvil as many times as possible in a given time. The anvil has to hit the wood between the player's feet and the tin roof above his head.

'Harri Jasotze' : stone lifting
Players compete lifting a large heavy stone as many times as possible.

lasto altxatzea

'lasto altxatzea' : straw  bale lifting
A 45kg bale of straw is attached by rope to a 7 meter high pole with a pulley at the top. Players compete to pull the bale to top of the pole as many times as possible within two minutes.

'lasto botatze' : throwing a bale of straw
Players pitchfork a 12kg bale of straw over a horizontal bar. The bar is raised successively and the players have three tries. The winner is the player who throws the bale highest without the bar falling.

'buskail biltzea' : corn race
50 corn cobs are placed on the ground 1.25m apart in 2 rows. Players race to pick them and bring them back to a basket, one by one.

'aizkola' : tree cutting race
The competitor or 'aizkolari'  has to chop a trunk of wood in half as fast as possible. What makes this special is that he is standing on the trunk he is chopping in half. Can be played solo or in relay. The tree trunk can also be place vertically.

'sega' : log sawing
Teams of 2 compete to finish ten cuts in a 1.1 meter circumference log in the fastest time using a two handled hand saw.

© photos CDT Béarn Pays Basque

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