Kazakh Games

Today is Republic Day in Kazakhstan. October 25th, 1990 is the day they declared sovreignty from the Soviet Union. They didn’t actually get their independence until the Soviet Union collapsed a while later in December of 1991 but today’s the day they celebrate claiming sovreignty.

We went to watch the Kazakh Games at the Almaty Hippodrome and it was amazing. First, I’ve been interested in seeing a game of Buzkashi played live since I was 20 years old.  It’s not called Buzkashi here. It’s called kokpar in Kazakhstan but it’s the same game. It’s played all over Central Asia and the name varies region by region.


So, I’m way over simplifying here but it’s kinda played like football but instead of using a ball they use the carcass of a dead goat. We saw a bunch a guys on horseback on the field, then my husband noticed a couple guys with a goat, and then I noticed they were killing it and I said oh my god!!! I bet they’re going to play that game!!! It’s the game I’ve wanted to see played live for years!!!

I took a very short video of the game. You can see the “ball” with the guy on the white horse in the front.

Then we heard this amazing neo-ethnic folk group  perform. Here’s a link to their performance with bonus horses riding by.

Then we watched Audaraspack! Kazakh horseback wrestling! And wow!!! These guys were so cool! I loved it! I took a video and have the link here.