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Mazatlán
(October 15, 2010 - March 15, 2011)

Charreada - a Mexican Rodeo

Sunday November 7, 2010

One of the charreada murals on the wall under the lienzo charro

When visiting the Juarez tianguis (flea market) one Sunday morning, we found out that a charreada (Mexican rodeo) was on that afternoon.  We decided to go along, as we were sad to have missed out on this last time we were down.

We turned up promptly at 4pm to the lienzo charro (rodeo stadium) in Juarez.  The ticket booth was a hole in the wall and the cost was 60 pesos each.

Under the stadium was a wall painted with murals to do with horsemanship.

Wall of murals under the lienzo charro

Here's a closeup of one of the murals.  You can click on the thumbnail up the top too, to see another mural.

Another of the murals on the wall under the lienzo charro

As expected, this event was on Mexican time, and there were only a few spectators in the stands, including a couple of Canadians with whom we ended up sitting.

View of the lienzo charro, with the Sierra Madre mountains in the background

Our conversation was soon quashed by loud music which didn't let up, but was later augmented by the band Cascabel warming up (you can see them in the pink shirts).

The sound stage, with the band gathering for their warm-up

The feature of the night's entertainment was dancing horses.  This horse, El Rey, was one of the better dancers, and could do a variety of steps, including sitting down and getting up again.

El Rey

Eventually we saw more than 20 horses come into the ring, and dance in between other diversions.

Horses and riders lining up after being announced

Each horse danced to a chosen song that the band would play.  You could see the horse concentrating as it went through its steps.  (I had trouble photographing them in the evening light, hence the blurriness of some of these photos.)

Horse concentrating on his dance steps

After five or so horses had danced, some of the young boys played a game where they had to spin around as fast as possible during a song and remain upright at the end.  Eventually all but one contestant was eliminated, and I think he received a prize.

Boys ready to spin around to the music

There were a few bull rides interspersed through the program of dancing horses.  The cowboys were very good and didn't fall off.  Indeed, the bulls sometimes had to be prodded to get moving again!

Bull-riding cowboy

For some fun and light relief, a few sheep and then a calf were brought into the ring.  Boys were given a chance to ride them, much like the bull riders.

The boys would chase after the sheep and hold it down so one of them
       could mount it. They didn't stay on long!

Later on, some of the riders of the dancing horses were drinking beer as they rode around the ring.  One sang a few songs with the band using a portable microphone, with his talented horse dancing away to the music.

Near the end, the dancing became more informal, horses swapped riders, father and son pairs danced together, and some riders were giving their young children rides.  It was more like an enjoyable companionable reunion of these horsemen and their nimble-footed steeds than any form of competition.


Turning my life around.....       Ozzie in Mazatlan