The Charreada: a Mexican Rodeo and Cowboy Show
I can’t imagine a nicer way to spend the second day of a long weekend than watching a charreada, a Mexican cowboy competition.
(Except perhaps riding my bike up and down some crazy mountain roads, but I’ll do that tomorrow.)
Forget Cinco de Mayo — September 16 is Mexico’s Independence Day, the reason I have the day off. The night before on the 15th, cities and towns all over Mexico host a party in the zócalo (central square), with a big stage set up for live music, taco stands, and children spraying each other with foam from a can.
In Temoaya, a small town in the State of Mexico (about an hour from western edge of Mexico City), the charreada starts at 1:00 pm the next day, Friday.
A charreada is like a rodeo, only more of a sport (no clowns). Language note: in Mexico, a rodeo (pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, ro-DEI-o) is a rowdy country-style bar where you drink buckets of beer and listen to loud banda music.
There are two teams, one in red and one in (mostly) blue or white:
The first competition is to show control of your horse with a quick stop and some fancy footwork, making for a dramatic entrance. This is Froy, my wife’s cousin:
One of the next events is to take down a bull by pulling on its tail, called las colas, or steer tailing. Yes, animal lovers, it’s not gentle, but it’s better than being tacos.
Keeping an eye on things:
Riding back for another trip down the gauntlet:
At a big party tonight the queen of the festival will be chosen. Here a candidate does some friendly campaigning:
Here we’re treated to some lasso work:
Get on that bull!
Big excitement near the end of the charreada: chasing down a yegua (a mare, female horse) and lassoing it at high speeds:
And the final competition: el paso de la muerte (the pass of death), when the rider jumps from his horse onto the mare:
Like a hat trick in hockey, you show your appreciation by throwing your hat, boots or beer bottles onto the dirt, which is also a good chance to get your favorite charro (cowboy) to notice you when he returns the hats:
Who won? I don’t know. But two hours, many beers, and a headful of dust later, the charreada is over. See you next year.
Posted on September 17, 2016, in culture, Mexico and tagged charreada, charro, charros de temoaya, el paso de la muerte, mexican cowboy show, mexican rodeo, september 15, september 16, steer tailing, temoaya. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.