Above: Basque pelota exhibition in Bakersfield.
Four Basque handball players battled it out in exhibition matches at the Kern County Basque Festival and are now headed to the Bay Area, where they will square off on the indoor court at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco on Friday June 4.
The Bay Area event will be dedicated to a history of handball in the region and will kickoff the San Francisco Basque Club’s weekend festival celebrating the club’s 50 years.
During the Bakersfield matches, the four players — professionals Fernando Goñi III and Pedro Eulate, and amateurs Julien Etcheverry and Bixintxo Bilbao — thrilled the audience with exciting performances. The back-and-forth action kept spectators fixed on the outdoor fronton, or handball court. The crowd cheered as the athletes made amazing plays.
Joe Recondo, an ex-handball player and former vice president of the Kern County Basque Club, finds players who can come for the Memorial Day weekend event. Over the years, he has developed strong ties to pelota players in the Basque Country.
In an interview at the Basque club, Recondo noted that the handball games have become popular among festival-goers. The matches, he said, typically help attract more people to the annual event.
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