On The Friday, July 20, 2018 Edition Of Idaho Matters:

Jul 19, 2018
  • Our team of Idaho reporters breaks down the week's headlines.
  • Reporter Davia Nelson visits the Basque tradition of the Annual Sheepherder's Ball.

- We assemble a panel of Idaho journalists to discuss the week's events in Boise, the Treasure Valley and beyond. This week we're joined by Bill Manny of the Idaho Statesman, Idaho Public Television's Melissa Davlin and Betsy Russell of The Idaho Press.


- In the 1930s and 40s, hundreds of Basque people were brought to the western United States to do the desolate work that no one else would do—herding sheep. Alone for months at a time with hundreds of sheep, the Basque improvised songs, baked bread in underground ovens, carved poetry and drawings into the Aspen trees, listened to The Basque Radio hour traditional music and messages between the herders out in the isolated countryside—looking forward to The Annual Sheepherder’s Ball. 


The Sheepherder's Ball was the highlight of the year in Boise. The men wore denim, the women wore simple house dresses. Lambs were auctioned off and proceeds given to a charity. Huge platters of chorizo and stew and pork sandwiches were served. The ball continues to this day every December at the Euzkaldunak Club's Basque Center and reporter Davia Nelson visits this tradition.