Bidaburu, Vicente

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 


Vicente was born on 27 October 1923 in Ereno, Bizkaia to Máximo Bidaburu and Josefa Arrizabalaga.  His parents worked on the family baserri, called "Barrenetxe," and like many children on Basque farms, one of Vicente's chores was to cut hay and corn for the animals.  His childhood was interrupted by the bombing of Gernika in 1937, when Vicente joined Ereno's work crew, one of the groups organized by the mayors from surrounding towns to clear away the rubble from the bombing.

Vicente was 31 years old when he decided to emigrate to the United States.  He had helped on his family's farm, served in the Spanish Army, and worked for a charcoal company in Ispaster until conversations with friends and letters from his uncle, who was herding sheep in America, convinced him to try something different.  In 1954, he left his hometown for the United States, where he had been promised a job herding sheep for Walt McLean around Steens Mountain, Oregon.

After seven years with McLean's sheep company, which he says helped him establish a good reputation in the eyes of future employers, Vicente returned home to Ereno.  He met and married Carmen Madarieta, returned to Oregon, and sent for her as soon as he was granted citizenship.  Vicente started a life long career with the Edward Hines Lumber Mill in Burns, where he stayed for nearly 28 years until his retirement.  He and Carmen moved to Ontario, Oregon, where they lived until their children insisted that they move to Boise.  They did so in 1994, and have been active participants in the city's Basque community ever since. 

Audio Recording: 
Sheeherder reputation
Work crew
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