Reindeer Herder Days celebrated in Taimyr

Reindeer Herder Days celebrated in Taimyr

April 17, 2024

Tundra dwellers’ meetings started from the village of Tuhard.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Every year, reindeer herders from reindeer herding camps gather in villages to see their relatives, solve economic problems necessary for every reindeer herder, and demonstrate their skills in competitions traditional for northern peoples. This year, Reindeer Herder Day in Taimyr is held for the 65th time.

Before the holiday, tundra dwellers stock up on food and fuel in their villages, draw up the necessary documents, receive payments, subsidies for a deer head, and are also examined by doctors. For these purposes a whole medical team of various profiles specialists comes from Dudinka to the local hospital. And this time, in the village hospital, the reception was carried out for several days from morning until evening.

Creative groups from Dudinka, Krasnoyarsk and Evenkia performed for nomads and village residents; the best workers in the industry were honored at the venue; the Taimyr authorities and subsoil users’ representatives gave awards to the competition winners.

The predominantly Nenets village of Tuhard dressed up on this day in its best malicas and parkas. Tundra dwellers and villagers competed with each other in throwing a maut on a trochee (a lasso on a long pole, which is used to drive reindeer in a sled), stick tug, jumping over improvised sleds, national wrestling and in the main competition – reindeer sled racing.

The races were held separately among men, women and youth – a total of 66 participants took the start, the youngest being only 14 years old. At the distance, the teams and mushers were monitored by a team of judges who moved nearby on snowmobiles. A group of fans also raced along, they monitored the fairness of the race, and at the same time, with the noise of the engines, did not allow the deer to move to the side.

This type of competition has always been characterized by high intensity of passions among tundra dwellers, since the ability to manage reindeer is one of the reindeer herders’ skill and professional competence main indicators. In addition, serious rewards have always been awarded for winning reindeer sled races: snowmobiles, boat engines, diesel generators and other things useful in the tundra.

Having covered a distance of ten kilometers, Nikolay Yamkin was the first to finish, Leonid Yaptune was second, and Erik Lyrmin took third place. Among the women, Lida Yamkina was the fastest, Anastasia Yamkina finished second, and Maria Yaptune took third place.

The winners received certificates for the purchase of snowmobile equipment; for second and third place – an outboard motor and a four-seater inflatable rowing boat purchase certificates, respectively.

Konstantin Yamkin won the Young Reindeer Herder competition; he became the owner of a certificate for the purchase of a gasoline generator.

An equally serious fight took place on an improvised wrestling mat – right in the snow. Considering that there has been a Greco-Roman wrestling club in Taimyr for many years, there are always enough applicants to participate. Not all of them fight strictly according to the rules, but in this case one thing is required of the wrestlers – to put the opponent on his shoulder blades.

“This year, within the Family Year, the Nornickel established a special category Nomadic Family and awarded five Taimyr families with cash certificates of 200 thousand rubles. The nominees were determined by the reindeer herders themselves – the prize was awarded to large families that roam the Tuhard tundra. In addition, the company’s prize fund of 300 thousand rubles was distributed among nine winners in competitions in national wrestling, sled jumping and maut throwing”, said Anfisa Nikiforova, head of the Nornickel’s department for work with indigenous peoples of the North.

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Text: Denis Kozhevnikov, Photo: author and Denis Gaskov

April 17, 2024

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