The day of contest horse riders at the cornmand "go!" The National Games, meanwhile, are played for cash, most of which comes from the state-run National Bank of Kazakhstan. Both men were educated at the University of Washington in Seattle, and came home to start careers in business and IT, respectively. "Silk Road Adventures" . Stalin made us up.. In Kazakh, they are named zhylkyshylar or malshylar (shepherds), he added. It is played in the open steppe over an extended area. Kazakhstan has at least two types of kokpar, noted Bigozhin. With the teams in position, the ref gives the signal. The pre-Russian period has also been employed to provide the foundation of Kazakh cultural identity in the new century. win, you need swift horse catch up the rider with the goat, and you must also b skilled, experienced horseman so as not to b thrown off in the heat of the struggle. Will he get any extra reward for todays victory? Lazer and an Almaty horse dart into the circle, and Lazer immediately twists around the goat, drops his centre of gravity, and uses his short, unyielding body to box his opponents out, giving Abugali, his rider, just enough time to swing down and grab the carcass. Perhaps Nazarbayevs top-down cultural project will lead to similar contradictions. You can be a great player, but if you do not have a well-prepared horse, you are more likely to lose, he said. The nomads who came to be known as Kazakhs in the 15th century shaped their way of life to this hard, semi-arid land. The Taraz team gather on a concrete dais to collect an oversized cheque for 1m tenge. Kokpar is like horse rugby; clashing together at full speed is not an exception, involving injuries and traumas, said Bigozhin. There are other kokpar enthusiasts who will never play, but will buy a horse, keep it and find a shabandoz (equestrian) who will play on his horse for every game and make his name famous. Mangystau has pulled off an upset. National game of Kazakhs - Kokpar will start at 9:00 AM. Fourteen teams parade before us with their flags and banners: green and yellow for Taraz, black and white for Shymkent, blue and gold for Almaty. In this game take a part some teams from two aul. Kazakhstans Norah Jeruto Wins Womens Steeplechase Title at World Athletics Championships, Kazakhstans Rybakina Enters Best Tennis Players Ranking by Income, Kazakhstans Wimbledon Champion Elena Rybakina Talks About Her Sensational Win, Emotions, and Meeting With Djokovic, Homecoming: Wimbledon Champion Elena Rybakina Returns to Kazakhstan, Receives Huge Support (Video), Kazakhstans Rybakina Wins Wimbledon Womens Singles Title, First Grand Slam for Nation, Elena Rybakina Makes History by Becoming First Singles Player from Kazakhstan to Reach Grand Slam Final. In fierce face-offs and chaotic scrums, its often a wonder that Lazers rider a thickset, windbeaten man named Abdijaparov Abugali can even hold on, let alone swing his body down Lazers flank in a headfirst lunge for the trampled goat carcass around which the horses stamp and circle. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. Because of this narrow but passionate interest, the financial support for kokpar comes mostly from the top down. National game of Kazakhs - Kokpar is hosted by Relax tour. Sometimes during kokpar there happen injuries, and lethal outcomes. One of the riders gallops off ahead with the dead goat; then anyone who wants ( take pn in the competition sets off after him. When copying material from site "Silk Road Adventures", link is required. View the hotel list on our checkout page to see if yours is included among the pickup points. Main image: Vladimir Konstantinov/Shutterstock, A longer version of this essay first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review. "Goals" are set up on opposite sides of a large field. He was a patriot. His father fought in the Red Armys cavalry and served in the party after the second world war. He snatches the goat, but not firmly enough to break for the goal. rush to goat's carcass lying at the distance 50 - 60 steps away from them. I met one guy from Koschy (a village near Astana) who never had horses. First, to make the game animal friendly and adhere to Greenpeace, because there are many foreign teams coming and playing kokpar in Kazakhstan. Then Taraz start to pull away. Kokpars premise is simple: two teams take to a chalked-out 200-metre field to compete over a headless, freshly slaughtered goat, wrestling control back and forth in an attempt to score by flinging it into the opponents goal. This is a struggle on horseback for a goat carcass. Most of these games have a competitive nature. The contest continues rnidday to evening, and winner is he who either b his strength dexterity mastered kokpar. Its expression of fearlessness and daring, along with its pre-Soviet, pre-tsarist authenticity, are no doubt part of its appeal for Nazarbayevs government. He drives it into the cracked earth, and a kind of green-energy miracle spreads outward, transforming the parched steppe into a utopia of wind turbines and solar panels. The nomad represents an ideal one that is used to sell everything from Nomad Insurance policies to Air Astanas Nomad Club frequent-flyer programme but as the oil boom continues, more and more ordinary Kazakhs are heading to urban centres. "Silk Road Adventures" .

The field has been freshly sprayed with water to tamp the dust, and the goals wrapped with new green-and-yellow drapery. The national sporting game, where dexterity, strength, courage, and boldness of its participants are tested. Without this kind of government investment, kokpar might well fade away or limp on as an equivalent of the Highland Games in Scotland or a lumberjack competition in Wisconsin as nostalgic spectacle, or even kitsch. Kokpar is said to have originated with Genghis Khans early-13th-century mounted raiders, although it may be even older. Kazakh national games took a great and important role in the life of the Kazakh people.

It wasnt as bad for us on the ranch, he finally says. n Monday morning at the Taldykorgan hippodrome, the Games begin with a low-key ceremony. Without a well-trained stallion, a person will not win kokpar. In most matches at Taldykorgan, two or three riders fall or are thrown. It is played in the open steppe over anextended area. When it is getting fresher, there are village trainings conducted on Sundays, where teams play six players against six and ride horses. In the 1920s, Stalin drew the borders of the central Asian republics so as to splinter linguistic and ethnic groups and thwart possible revolt. The final score is 4-1. If two groups participate in kopkar, the winner is the team whose player reaches the finish line first. He loved the motherland, he says, sounding a little like a Soviet-era textbook. Winners of 'kokpar' usually receive rich rewards. Confirmation will be received at time of booking, This is a private tour/activity. This policy fed bloody conflicts across the former Soviet Union in the late 20th century, and continues to cause ethnic and religious strife in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Kokpar. At Taldykorgan, a star player for the Shymkent team, Bak Tobay, is introduced as having won 20 cars and nine Land Cruisers.

Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev at his inauguration ceremony in Astana, in 2015. The day of contest horse riders at the cornmand "go!" Popchenko and his brother, who plays for the city of Kyzylorda, are the only Caucasian players on the field. It is based on an ancient custom, according to which one should sacrifice a billy-goat, in order to get rid of everything bad. Some kokpar enthusiasts seek popularity and respect in their communities through their horses. When copying material from site "Silk Road Adventures", link is required. To win, they need a swift horse to catch up the rider with the goat and they also must be a skilled, experienced horsemen so as not to be thrown off in the heat of the struggle. Traditions of Kazakh people. Shymkent dominates the first half, keeping the action dangerously close to Mangystaus end. By Will Boast. This sport also demands the strength to be able to snatch away the carcass and the agility to slip away from the other competitors and be the first to gallop across the finishing line. The Russians brought schools, electricity, medicine, Shyngys says, growing impassioned. Under President Nursultan Nazarbayev an authoritarian who permits the harassment, arrest and torture of activists and journalists, yet remains popular among Kazakhs this young nation has grown into the largest, most robust economy in central Asia. This sport also demands the strength to be able to snatch away the carcass and the agility to slip away from the other competitors and be the first to gallop across the finishing line. Everyone nods solemnly. There is, perhaps, an irony here: a 21st-century state is being built on a tradition that resisted the very idea of centralised power. (The total population is just under 18 million people, in a country larger than western Europe.) In the second half, a series of fouls slows the match to a fitful pace. The teams not playing in the final are now at ease, and weary. Bigozhin noted the two strongest teams, Aulie Ata from Taraz and Kulager from South Kazakhstan, are the ones that usually compete in the final. Or perhaps Suyebaev is just focused on the match. Likewise, Nazarbayevs government has put plenty of sporting people on the payroll. That said, kokpars atavistic symbolism is pretty high. Kazakhstan is making attempts to include a dummy goat, an artificial corpse of a goat, into the official kokpar for two reasons. Their calves are wrapped with felt strips and blue, white or yellow tape partly for protection, partly for decoration. Nor are they reassured by the unpredictability of its neighbours: Tajikistan is nearly a failed state; Turkmenistan is ultra-repressive, ultra-secretive and seldom visited; and, until recently, Uzbekistan was run by a thug with an atrocious human rights record. The mounts are prepared according to a certain schedule. Shymkent, former national champions, are one of the few teams to challenge Tarazs dominance, so this contest has drawn a noticeably larger crowd, with spectators pushing closer to the field as the players steady their horses on the far sideline. The field has been freshly sprayed with water to tamp the dust, and the goals wrapped with new green-and-yellow drapery. They are treated similarly to soccer players with their own champions, stars, winners and losers, he added. Bak Tobay blocks out ferociously and goes for the goat, but Popchenko snatches it away and breaks for the goal. What do you do with this now? I ask, as I strain to hold it up. The goal a large, circular mound of hay and earth hollowed out on top is only yards away.

I saw horse owners who sold their stallions for US$20,000 and more. In the olden days experienced kokpar-players could drag their opponent away together with his horse. He said other villages near Astana such as Ilinka and Talapker play kokpar; thus, there is a need to develop kokpar in Koschy as well, he said. They pose for photos as fans gather round, thrilled to shake a champions hand. Since 2016, after the start of the Ruhani Zhangyru (Modernisation of Kazakhstans Identity) programme and the mass spreading by the Kazakh National Sports Federation, young people in many rural areas pursue the career of kokparshy, he added. Yet the sport does not appear to be enormously popular outside of a small group of hardcore fans. Interestingly, in the kokpar final you are most likely to see two teams, Kyrgyz and Kazakh. A basic kokpar horse, a good stallion that has never played the game but shows potential, starts at 700,000 tenge (US$1,946). Atyraus defenders try to keep up, but the match is slipping from their grasp.

The national game is known as kokpar in Kazakhstan, buzkashi in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the U.S., kokboru and ulaq tartysh in Kyrgyzstan and kupkari in Uzbekistan. Sometimes during kokpar there happen injuries, and lethal outcomes. Winners of 'kokpar' usually receive rich rewards. At Taldykorgan, at least half of the men I speak to introduce themselves as a national coach, a national trainer, a deputy minister or a Master of Sport (a title that qualifies one to coach or play at the national level). Watermelon, honey, and carrots, Abugali tells me. Many have several days drives ahead of them. Personal interest, desire and enthusiasm push players, as financial success is not the main driver. I speak with Mangystaus coach, a rancher named Kanagat Suyebaev, about his father, who taught him to play kokpar when he was five. It is like building ones own symbolic capital, fame and popularity as a person who respects tradition, noted Bigozhin. The second reason relates to financial issues. You are Kazakh because you know who your grandfathers were. Everything is limbs, flying clods of dirt, horses rearing, riders whipping them deeper into the fray. As any cultural tradition, kokpar game is highly reconstructed and reimagined. Still, they scrap and claw their way to a goal, and going into the second half its 2-1. Horses are played on the defence line and as attackers depending on their physical structure. We were self-sufficient. Be the first to share your thoughts! What is the National game of Kazakhs - Kokpar cancellation policy? Its heavy regulations put it between 30-35kg and with all its organs rolling around inside, it practically writhes out of my grasp. The field of play was the distance, often miles, between two nomadic encampments; the goals a garden or animal pen in each. One of the riders gallops off ahead with the dead goat; then anyone who wants ( take pn in the competition sets off after him. He has every reason for exuberance: Lazer and Abugali are putting on a kokpar masterclass.

ASTANA Ulan Bigozhin, an Indiana University PhD graduate and Nazarbayev University post-doctoral scholar, is a cultural anthropologist examining the reinstitution of kokpar in contemporary Kazakhstan and its increasing popularity in Central Asia. Some say there is less interest for kokpar among the young; however, at the same time you can see a lot of youth aged 16-17 who are playing and having their social media pages with their own fans and publicity. Nazarbayevs great project is his architectural playground, Astana, but he is also careful to be photographed and filmed playing a traditional two-stringed lute, the dombra, and in interviews attributes his good health to horsemeat and kumis (fermented mares milk) two nomadic staples. Traditionally, it was played between villages. He gallops back to the sideline, arms above his head like a showboating footballer. more, National game of Kazakhs - Kokpar provided by Relax tour. Come on, play! one spectator yells. This simultaneous evocation of an open-range past and the promotion of a sleek, streamlined, 21st-century Kazakhstan postmodern architecture, luxury shopping, green energy has led to all sorts of anomalies and juxtapositions. And even as Kazakhstan tries to forge a modern, high-tech identity for itself, this age-old game is being pushed as a defining part of its culture. Two groups of riders take a part in this game. Sometimes up to 20 - 30 persons participate in this battle. The game is still played (or perhaps recreated) this way across central Asia, on the same occasions and on national holidays, but in recent years it has become increasingly professionalised, with federations and government ministers responsible for its promotion. Once again sedate and ordinary, the most famous horse in the country is going home for a few weeks of rest. Two men grab the goat and lug it off the field. It took me a couple of minutes to explain that actually I am not a horse buyer, he said. To find out more, visit If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. Despite these gestures toward a more global profile, Kazakhstan remains, for many, a huge blank on the map somewhere between Russia and China, essentially a hinterland. Anyone who enjoys gut wrenching, passionate sports will b impressed b this gripping struggle horseback for goat carcass. Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! By the final whistle, Taraz has routed Almaty, 10-3. Its largest city, Almaty, buzzes with Range Rovers, Rolex shops and a Hard Rock Cafe. Kazakh national games and entertainments. Kokpar is goat's flaying. I went to Saryagash (a city in Turkistan region) for an interview with one kokpar horse owner who thought I was one of these horse buyers. Agility, strength, accuracy and ability to stay in the saddle define a strong kokparshy (kokpar player) or shabandoz (palvon). This is part of their mentality and tradition. Call the number below and use the product code: 210508P2. It is hard to say whether Abugali is directing Lazer, or simply responding to the training and preternatural instincts of his horse. Student teams with their own rules are also appearing in Almaty. Imperial mismanagement was at its worst in the 1930s, when the Soviet Union instituted a massive collectivisation programme that forced nomads into farming, with disastrous results: within three years, 1.5m ethnic Kazakhs starved to death.

Taraz has made their ninth final, and today faces the team from Atyrau, in western Kazakhstan, who have played solidly all week. The announcers commentary is percussive and freewheeling, mixing in proverbs and bits of poems that I am told defy translation. He hauls the carcass up into his lap. In the olden daysexperienced kokpar-players could drag their opponent away together with his horse. Several teams have driven for four or five days to get here, but no one is looking road-worn, just expectant. Nearly every middle-aged man I speak to at the Games recalls playing kokpar village-to-village as a boy, and nearly every one of them stopped due to grievous injury. Away from the celebration, Lazer dips his head and munches grass. We play kokpar because its in our blood, Im told several times. Separate from entertainment and sport, the game is becoming a growing social phenomenon. Teams from many countries have travelled to Kazakhstan, which has hosted the Uly Dala Oindary (Great Steppe Games) and Expo games. And, of course, there are stars, none brighter than the one before me, calmly nipping the grass and sniffing the air on a chilly April morning at the hippodrome on the outskirts of Taldykorgan, a small industrial city in eastern Kazakhstan. The national sporting game, where dexterity, strength, courage, and boldness of its participants are tested. This summer, Astana hosted the Future Energy-themed Expo 2017, aimed at bolstering Kazakhstans green-energy initiatives alongside its petroleum riches. Some horses are diminutive, like Lazer, while others are so tall that I mistake their riders, big as rugby forwards, for smaller men. And while kokpar is featured regularly on state TV, most Kazakhs I speak to prefer watching Premier League football or Russian music videos or movies. (Kazakhstan was the final Soviet state to declare independence, trailing even Russia itself.) In this game take a part some teams from two aul. Kokpar, one rider tells me, takes eggs. My translator searches for the right word. One of riders gallops off a head with the dead goat; then others of a team set off after him. When I ask Abugali who is more important, the horse or the rider, he doesnt hesitate: The horse.. In the ancient nomadic game known as kokpar (roughly, goat-grabbing), Lazer is a champion many times over, with eight Kazakh National Games and two Central Asian Games titles to his name. Who first picks the carcass up from the ground, the other horsemen had to take it. n Saturday, the last day of the Games, a crowd of about 200 has gathered at the hippodrome. And nowhere is the interplay between the two more starkly embodied than in professional Kazakh kokpar. A band in traditional costume plays Kazakh folk music. Kokpar (fighting for a billy-goat carcass) - the most popular game amongst the populace. No reviews yet. Kokpar is goat's flaying. In the games of this kind take horse-riders who had the special training. Which company provides National game of Kazakhs - Kokpar? A few get trampled by the horses. In this competition, horsemen demonstrated agility, strength, accuracy, ability to stay in the saddle. Maulebkazi explains: if you eat meat from the kokpar goat, then go home and sleep with your wife, you are sure to have a male child. Aidos seems troubled. Copyright 1989 - 2022. "Goals" are set up on opposite sides of a large field. But the country struggles to attract visitors, and international companies remain wary of political corruption and nepotism. Its a shame you were here to see this, Maulebkazi, the line judge, tells me. The opponents attack dzhigit who first snatched the carcass from the earth, trying to overtake him and to grab away kokpar. National game of Kazakhs - Kokpar price starts from $205.13. He decided, though, to buy two horses and expressed his desire to develop kokpar game in Koschy. Short-legged, small-eared, with aloof, walnut eyes, he might be any one of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of horses ranging over the grasslands of this enormous, wide-open country. A horse can be in imperfect physical shape, but it cannot be mentally damaged. Yet, even as many now work in offices instead of on a ranch, or drive trucks and taxis rather than ride horses, they can still identify with the kokpar pros who risk life, limb and eggs for glory in the saddle. Authority:"The Life and culture of Kazakh people" Kenzheahmetuly S. Almatykitap, 2006. Lazer and Abugali form the core of Aulie-Ata (Sacred Grandfathers), the team from the southern city of Taraz that has dominated Kazakh kokpar for the last decade. Shyngys has a problem with this. One of riders gallops off a head with the dead goat; then others of a team set off after him. The disruption of a traditional Kazakh lifestyle led to hunger, clashes over water sources and fledgling nationalist backlashes. After a whole day of being thrown around, stamped on by horses and nearly ripped in half, its time to retire this particular specimen. The sport also demands the strength to b bl to snatch away the carcass and the agility slip away from the other competitors and b the first to gal1op cross the finishing line. There is a lot of connection, friendship and socialising between Kyrgyz kokboru and Kazakh kokpar that goes along with the rivalry, he said. In an interview with The Astana Times, he spoke about how the game has been transformed and reimagined as a modern type of sport in conjunction with the countrys more global profile. Beneath a huge sky, with the furrowed, moss-green foothills and dagger-like peaks of the Jungar Alatau range as backdrop, a crew from Kazakh TV is filming preliminary interviews. In summer, horses are fattened in South Kazakhstan; then, the cooling process is gradually introduced in which the number of calories given to the horse is decreased and cardio trainings improved, said Bigozhin.