Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The San Miguel Rodeo!

Nothing like a Saturday afternoon rodeo!  Our friends John & Patty Holecek were in town visiting, so we grabbed our kids, hooked up with our friends Sam & Ann Hillers and their kids, and drove to the outskirts of town to the local Corral de Charros.  The "Charros" are the traditional, Mexican horseman known for their distinctive sombreros and elaborate, formal suits, generally complete with silk bow ties and delicate embroidery, as you can see here:

Seriously, these Charros know how to throw down some style!
The Charros are members of teams and they compete with others in a variety of events, displaying their skills in general horsemanship, roping cattle and horses (using the classic lasso technique), and there's even some old-fashioned bull riding.  Not sure how the bull riding fits in - it probably involves some sort of throw back to include the poor campesinos who couldn't afford a horse (and to provide amusement for those who could afford a horse).

In any event, the display of skill is quite impressive.  Photos, of course, can't capture the actual speed with which these men (and in some cases, boys) performed their various feats, but suffice it so say that I would have soiled my chaps if I'd have found myself in the saddle galloping in circles at such furious speeds.  

And unsurpisingly, like nearly all spectator events here in Mexico, the rodeo is an event for the whole family, complete with refreshments, fresh food of all sorts, and of course, a full Mariachi band in the stands!

When things get slow, just shout out "Musica, musica, muuusicaaaaa!!!!" and the band will play...

Fans come in all shapes and sizes.

John Holecek, Ann & Sam Hillers, fittin' in with the crowd & enjoying the show!

And no one minds in the least if a few of the kids get bored and start running around, playing games, or even break out a little "patty cake":

But if you enjoy this sort of thing at all, you'd likely not get bored - the events flowed rather quickly and there were so many different contests, such as the roping of cattle...

Roping some pretty quick calves...
... and some of the bigger ones, too....

... a little bit of bull-riding....

Everyone loves the comic aspect of this!
 ... and some serious displays of rope skills:

One event involved a Charro on foot having the responsibility of roping a galloping colt being driven at full speed around the outer wall by his mounted team members.  What you don't see in the photos is that once he gets the lasso going, he's got to keep it going and time it just right to snag both of the hind the legs of the speeding colt, and get it just right (and not to fear - the colts aren't injured).  This guy did it and was truly impressive:


Here it comes!
So this was just another of the seemingly endless events we've found ourselves enjoying down here in Mexico that display the incredible richness, beauty, and complexity of the culture.  For those of you brave enough (and wise enough) to ignore the outlandish media scares, there's an incredible experience around every corner just waiting for you!  A few more parting shots from the day:

Waiting his turn...
 I think this lad was running late...
Father and son?
Living large!

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