American Cowboys to Compete in 5th World Nomad Games in Kazakhstan

Ministry of Sports and Tourism of Kazakhstan

Last week, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Tourism and Sports Ermek Marzhikpayev met Kaycee Field, renowned American professional rodeo cowboy, and Ladd Howell, captain of the US kokpar team.

Perhaps surprisingly, the traditional Kazakh game of kokpar is growing in popularity in America. The US National Kokpar Team, led by Howell, competed in both the 2018 and 2022 World Nomad Games and plans were discussed for its participation in the 5th World Nomad Games in Kazakhstan.

Kokpar, or goat–picking, is one of the oldest nomadic games in Kazakhstan. Fast and furious, it involves riders fighting for possession of a headless carcass of a goat and throwing it into a pit to score a ‘goal.’

Addressing the US delegation, Minister Marzhikpayev said, “Kokpar is one of the oldest nomadic games, and played for hundreds of years, is highly entertaining. At previous World Nomad Games, Kazakhstani Kokpar athletes won gold. We have heard much about your team as a leader in this sport. It is gratifying that you actively participate in the equestrian sports of Central Asia and are involved in their popularization in the United States. We believe that your team’s performance will be one of the most memorable.”

He also mentioned the US team’s proposal to provide demonstration performances of American rodeo in this year’s program.

The 5th World Nomad Games will be held in Astana from 8-14 September and The Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Kazakhstan anticipates the participation of almost 4,000 athletes from over a hundred countries in twenty competitive and ten demonstration events.

Initiated by the government of Kyrgyzstan in 2012 for the revival and preservation of nomadic culture, the first World Nomad Games took place in Cholpon Ata on Lake Issyk-Kul in September 2014.