I have seen people knows very little about them outside the Basque Country, so my intention is to bring a bit of light to this topic. One of the best known traditional Basque charasteristic has been our preference for competitions and bets. Spanish people has a byword I like about us, take in account the "txapela" is a traditional Basque costume, "Un Vasco una txapela, dos Vascos una apuesta". It can be translated as "Were you see one Basque there will be a Txapela, were you see two Basques there will be a bet". Both traditions are losing in today's globalized world but they still are valid. There have been all type of bets here, a cyclist vs a horseman, two oxen vs an elephant, a given time vs a fully loaded donkey walking backside, scyte bets, stone drilling competitions, stone lifting ones, bets about lifting high load weird elements to the top of the mountains, cob gathering competitions, pelotari competitions... And a lot more standard and crazy bets and competitions. But here I will speak about axemen bets and competitions. My time is limited so my posts could be sporadic and short, but I will do my best. First axemen bets were made at medieval times, all bets have been persecuted by the church for centuries, so till the end of the 19th century they weren't admited by the public authorities. As an example, in the 17th century the magistrate Pierre de Lancre recriminated Basques for their "fondness for these sports rivalries". I have chosen the last bet we have had as a starting point, it was between Donato Larretxea and Xabier Orbegozo also known as Arria 5th in 20 December 2015th, Each competing axeman had to cut 20 kanaerdi (54 inches in perimeter) beech logs as fast as possible. They bet 24.000 each other, the competition was at the bullring of Tolosa, The contenders were, Donato Larretxea, 1.76 meters high 100Kg weight, Navarrean, 55 years old, three times champion of the Basque Country, clear example of a old school axeman. He is the man on the right, Xabier Orbegozo (Arria 5th), 1.90 meters high 90Kg weight, Gipuzkoan, 36 years old axeman at the peak of his phisical condition, The roots of this bet came after a axemen competition, those two men each with their friends met at the same restaurant that day. They started challenging each other till they finished betting each other 24.000. This could be the last bet Larretxea will do and Arria lost his last bet against another axeman, so both of them have trained very hard for this competition. Nobody had any clear advantage, each axeman come from a saga of very good axemen and expectations were very high, so bets between fans of each axeman went very high. Some of them bet each other the earnings of a moth. Crazy? Some bets were higher... Contenders agreed each one would bring half of the logs, noone had any advantage in this concern. Both of them choosed very different types of wood. Larretxea choosed standard wood with the clear intention to cut them fast and take advantage of his superior technique. Arriya choosed well seasoned wood with the clear intention to make a harder competition and taking advantage of his superior fitness, 2000 spectators reached to the bullring, high entry price (40) didn't took back people. Atmosphere was great each axeman fans gave all they had, So the competition started, Don't continue reading and see this video if you first want to see the competition instead of reading about how it went, http://www.eitb.tv/es/video/herri-k.../106920/aizkora-larretxea---arria-v-desafioa/ I'm sorry EITB has taken out some axemen videos from their website this one included. I advised you, here comes the spoiler, Each axeman started cutting his logs, Larretxea took advantage due to the easier woods, But when they reached to the contender logs Arriya started reaching Larretxea. Both of them cut the logs in different ways, Arriya cut them like a machine he almost didn't took any break. Larretxea took advantage of his technique but he had to take more breaks due to his no so good fitness. Arriya advanced Larretxea, but when they reached the last 5 logs Arriya had to cut seasoned logs and Larretxea (showing clear signs of tireness) standard ones. Larretxea even tired, advanced Arriya, so this one played with a little strategy. While Larretxea was concentrated cutting his log he jumped one of his logs and started cutting the next one. His intention was to make Larretxea think Arriya had a big advantage over him and he has already lost the competition, this way Arriya thought Larretxea would slow down giving him the advantage he needed to win the competition. But Larretxea saw clearly what Arriya's intention and he endured, Untill he won the competition. It was a very good competition, all of the people enjoyed it. Larretxea admited Arriya is a very tough contender and Arriya admited Larretxea's superior technique. It was a great day for all but those who lost their bets. Here you have some more photos of the competition, https://www.facebook.com/xabier.trejo/media_set?set=a.1227718203911278.1073741832.100000 193297141&type=3&pnref=story http://ataria.eus/tolosa/1450625351318 Here you have a little video about it, I hope you enjoyed it!