The Kitchen Sisters Visit The Annual Basque Sheepherder's Ball

Jul 20, 2018

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 on today's Idaho Matters, The Kitchen Sisters visit this tradition.