Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We Stumble Upon a Charreada

On Sunday we set out in the morning for a visit the the Toltec Pyramids that are near San Miguel. We got there after getting lost and when we arrived at noon, the pyramids were swamped with local Mexican families on their day off. We decided to head back to town and make another stab at on another day. Lo and behold, just as we got back to San Miguel, we stumbled upon a Charrreada just as it was ready to kick off at 1:00 pm. It was as if it was meant to be, that we weren't supposed to go to the pyramids that day. If you really want to know more, look it up on wikipeda, otherwise, you'll have to just take a gringo's word on what happened. It's not really a rodeo, but the predecessor to a rodeo, more like an exhibition of the talents of charros, or Mexican cowboys, the ancestors of the North American cowboy.

Half of the pictures and videos are by Nancy and the other half are by me.

This "chica" was dressed to the nines for the event. Here she's just gotten her parents to buy her some churros (I think) upon which the vendor squeezes a lime and some hot sauce.

The charros kept riding over to the edge of the ring where their families sat, and they would be handed a new rope or tossed a bottle of water. Sometimes the charros would climb off the horse into the stands to deal with the situation themselves, and then jump back on the horse.

It was a total family affair, someone's "Abuela" or Grandmama was there. What an amazing profile.

In one event the charros would perform a stunt similar to what we in the states call bulldogging. This would not entail leaving their horse however, but the charros would grab the bull by the tail and then use their boot to topple the critter. You can see videos of the event below. Watch for the charro examining his hand after it has picked up who knows what from the bull. The interesting thing, however, was after the bull had been dispatched, they would ride hell-bent-for-leather for the opposite side of the ring, and reign in the "caballo" only to stop inches from the concrete wall. See the videos, which, for some reason did not capture the actual suspense of the activity.

A detail of the opening ceremonies, the salute.
Now, here are the videos. There is a bull riding event which then morphs into an event where three charros take down the same bull with lassos, head and find feet. It was pretty boring compared to the team roping event we know in the states, and not as not as exciting as riding a brahma, either. You can click on the bulldogging event which is so different that the gringo version, and see the quickstop ending. Let's see, there's the event where the horse turns on a dime, or a peso, which is rather interesting. And the event where the purpose appears to be - how fast can you stop a horse going full speed. And there is one of the opening ceremony, where the charros divide into four groups and ride into the ring. Enjoy the videos and remember to enlarge the pictures with a click.


Peggy said...

Love it! The Eusers went to the rodeo when the National Western Stockshow was in town and saw the calf roping, bronco riding, steer wrestling and the mutton busters who were little kids who rode a sheep into the ring and eventually lost their grip and rolled off. Not counting the mutton busters, there was great skill displayed and real tradition in our type of rodeo. Its neat to see a Mexican version. Love the hats.

Anonymous said...

Don't you two have the best "timing" and the most interesting adventures?

I'm so enjoying your tour of Mexico! Keep up the good work!

Take care. Luke