The Game of Bunnock consists of 52 bones. The eight heaviest are marked as Schmeiser (throwers) while four more are marked as guards. The rest are ordinary soldiers. The guards and soldiers are equally divided, then set on level ground in two straight lines, 10 meters apart. The rules of the game call for an equal number of players on either side (usually four) who will try to knock down the opposing teams bones with the throwers. The guards must be knocked down first or penalties must be given. Each team takes turns throwing and the team which knocks down the opposing teams bones first is declared the winner. It sounds simple but it is a game of skill and accuracy. As everyone who plays it soon finds out, it is enjoyable and challenging.
The game of Bunnock was first introduced to Canada by the Russian Germans. There are several versions of how the game originated. One of them is that the game was developed in the early 1800's by the Russian military. Some old timers remember stories told by their elders relating how the Russian soldiers posted in the frozen tundra of northern Siberia, found the time endless. To help pass the time they tried to play horseshoes, but all too often they found it impossible to drive a peg into the frozen ground. With a little ingenuity, or was it sheer luck or boredom, some of the Russian soldiers discovered that the ankle bones of a horse could be set up on the frozen ground and so a new game called Bunnock (Bones) was born.
Our Bunnock (Bone) was constructed of steel pipes, wire mesh and fibreglass. A taxidermist, Ralph Berg of Cabri, Saskatchewan enlarged a normal horse ankle bone ninety-eight times its actual size and built Macklin its giant Bunnock. Our Bunnock stands 32' high. At night the bunnock can be illuminated and shines a bright orange which can be seen for miles around. The base of our Bunnock serves as a tourist booth, well stocked with information and souvenirs of our town. This booth is operated by the Border REDA Tourism Committee. Our Bunnock is situated at the junction of highway 31 and highway 14.
For more information or to make a suggestion please contact:
The Town of Macklin or The Macklin Bunnock Association
Box 69 Macklin, SK. S0L 2C0
Phone: (306) 753-2256 Fax: (306) 753-3234