Skip to content

World bunnock championship hits Macklin this weekend

One of the most unique championships in the world returns to Saskatchewan.
World Championship Hits Macklin This Weekend - Web
People from around the world will descend upon Macklin for the World Bunnock Championships this weekend.

MACKLIN — Bones are always so calm. Nothing ever gets under their skin. 

So maybe that pun was either humerus or rattled your rib cage. I guess I could learn a femur skeleton puns if you don't like these ones.

By a show of hands, how many people have heard about the game Bunnock? For the people of Macklin, Sask., it is home to one of the most unique World Championships. 

Those who aren’t as familiar? Follow along, as bones are the skeleton of this piece. 

The game, known as the games of bones or simply bones, is a throwing game thought to have originated in the early 19th century. 

To point to the exact origin of the game is foggy, but the most widely accepted theory is that it was a spin-off of the Mongolian game Shagai, created by Russian soldiers as a means of entertainment while being posted in remote areas of Siberia.

Historically, the game was played with the ankle bones of horses, however, today participants use a resin replica version.

Those of any age can participate, and each team of four must contain at least one person of the opposing sex.  

Two rows of 20 bone soldiers (two marked in black, the rest in white) are placed 10 metres apart.  One team is allowed to throw all their markers at the opponent's row, followed by the opposition repeating the process until all the bones are knocked over. 

If one team knocks all the bones over, the other team may throw the same number of bones in an attempt to tie. An extra game is played if a tie occurs. 

There are no bones to pick in regards to some of the rules that accompany the game. 

For example, foul language can lead to disqualification in the game. If an injury occurs, a teammate can be replaced. If a bone is accidentally knocked down, it is considered down. There are a plethora of other rules accompanying a game that appears so bare-boned in nature. 

Yet, from July 29 to July 31, Macklin Lake Regional Park will host its first world championship in nearly three years (the previous two were cancelled due to Covid-19). Team registration begins Friday night, accompanied by a trade show and craft fair, kids’ activities, food booths, and the Macklin Museum open to the public. 

Saturday and Sunday feature not only the main competition, but various auctions, draws and activities that go on until about 6 p.m. each day. The evenings feature a beer garden and live music, with Fury the headliner Saturday evening and Rect & Free The Twins Sunday evening to cap off the event.

For those who think this is simply a local Macklin or Saskatchewan event, think again. Teams in the past have come from all over the world, including Australia, Chile, Germany, Great Britain, and Japan. 

Approximately 320 teams will participate in the three-day event. 

2019 champions Brian Doetzel, Chelsey Doetzel, Kai Doetzel and Paulette Baier are back to defend their crown.

For more information, check out the @WorldBunnock Facebook page.