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.

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(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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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charreada

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Keeping an eye on things:

Riding back for another trip down the gauntlet:

Charreada

At a big party tonight the queen of the festival will be chosen. Here a candidate does some friendly campaigning:

Charreada

Here we’re treated to some lasso work:

Charreada

Charreada

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Get on that bull!

Charreada

Charreada

Big excitement near the end of the charreada: chasing down a yegua (a mare, female horse) and lassoing it at high speeds:

Charreada

Charreada

And the final competition: el paso de la muerte (the pass of death), when the rider jumps from his horse onto the mare:

Charreada

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:

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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.

Charreada

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About Ted Campbell

U.S.-Canadian writer, translator and university teacher in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: nohaybronca.wordpress.com Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at) gmail.com

Posted on September 17, 2016, in culture, Mexico and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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