Basque modality

The key of this modality is to cut the most kgs of grass in a certain time. In order to measure this, the cut grass is weighed and the one who has cut more kgs will be the winner. Apart from an assistant the reaper has usually a team with him/her in order to help collecting and weighing the cut grass. Regarding the characteristics of the scythe, the blade is normally between 1.18 and 1.24 m long in this modality.

Although by the beginning of the century, the bets used to take two hours, nowadays they use to take an hour. (For further details see the rules of the Basque Rural Sport Federation)

Basque Championships

The competitions in the Basque Country with a certain frecuency didnt began in 1965 . While the bets were played just between two reapers, all the well-known reapers used to take part in the championships. The first champion was Benito Otegi Usandizaga.  The reaper champions such as Bernardo Irastorza, Jose Martin Agirre “Endañeta” and Jose Inazio Orbegozo “Arria” came later. Apart from these ones, in the next decades more reapers became distinguisehd: Jose Mari Elizegi, Jose Aburuza, Juan Jose Irazusta, Uzkudun, Antton Erauskin “Etxetxo”, Juan Mari Agirrezabala, Josean Arregi and Sansinenea among many other names.

In the eighties and nineties, two names were particularly distinguished: Joxe Gabirondo from Gaztelu and Iñaki Bengoetxea from Irun, both from the province of Gipuzkoa.

However, in 1994, a really extraordinary champinoship was played between Bixente Mitxelena and Antton Erauskin “Etxetxo” staying Gabirondo and Bengoetxea off from the final. It was the first one to win for a half kilo discrepancy. It could be said that a new mowing era was beginning. Two younger reapers’ names began to get known: Mikel Aranalde and Jon Lapazaran. Anyway, in 1995, it was Joxe Gabirondo to beat in the championship played in the fields of the farm Jauregi In Hernani.

In 1997, the Federation applied a new rule: the reaper’s assistant could sharpen the scythe. As a result of this decision, Bengoetxea and Etxetxo didn’t take part in this year championship and it was then to be the first time that a reaper from Bizkaia became a champion. That was Jon Lapazaran.

In 1998, the classifying system changed. A quantity of participants was defined to play the final from each province considering the classification in the playoffs: 2 from Gipuzkoa, 2 from Bizkaia, 2 from Araba and 1 from Nafarroa. The reapers from Gipuzkoa didn’t agree with this decision.

In 1999, the classifying system qas changed again. Instead of defining the quantity of participants from each province, the reapers could participate in the playoffs considering the last year’s results. Afetr 6 playoffs, the final was played in Larraitz and Mitxelena won it after having beaten the Championship from Gipuzkoa one week efore.

Over the last years, the challenges and bets have reduced but the Basque COuntry Championship us played every year. In recent years, the challenges or bets aren’t so usual but the Basque Country Championship is played every year. In addition, from 2013, there is also females’ modality. Here’s the list of the winners since 1991:

  • 1991  Joxe Gabirondo
  • 1992 Joxe Gabirondo
  • 1993 Iñaki Bengoetxea
  • 1994 Bixente Mitxelena
  • 1995 Joxe Gabirondo
  • 1996 Antton Erauskin “Etxetxo”
  • 1997 Jon Lapazaran
  • 1998 Mikel Aranalde
  • 1999 Bixente Mitxelena
  • 2000 Bixente Mitxelena
  • 2001 Bixente Mitxelena
  • 2002 Jon Lapazaran
  • 2003 Jexux Mari Ormaetxea “Urki”
  • 2004 Bixente Mitxelena
  • 2005 Juan Manuel Erasun
  • 2006 Andoni Goikoetxea
  • 2007 Jon Lapazaran
  • 2008 Arkaitz Arteaga
  • 2009 Juan Joxe Lizaso
  • 2010 Jexux Mari Ormaetxea “Urki”
  • 2011 Juan Joxe Lizaso
  • 2012 Jexux Mari Ormaetxea “Urki”
  • 2013 Igor Esnaola (Males’ modality) /Alatzne Etxaburua (Females’ modality)
  • 2014 Igor Esnaola (Males’ modality) / Alatzne Etxaburua (Females’ modality)