Sunday, January 12, 2014
Rodeo in Conçon, a popular destination on the coast
For a story explaining more about Chilean rodeo
Friend and families meet and greet; kids in Chile are as drawn to video games as kids in the U.S.
The rodeo draws a wide crowd on Sunday - entire famiies, friends of the riders, people taking an hour to watch the rodeo then hit the beach in Conçon a mile away. This is not a sport like polo exclusively for the rich. Most of Ricardo's neighbors have horses, some of them participate in rodeos - small ones that attract local horsmen, larger ones like this that attract riders from Santiago.
Can you imagine a sports event where the Minister of Defense rides with horsemen from small towns? If you ride well enough and train your horse to ride sideways you can. Today, Ricardo spent time chatting about his orange business with Chile's Minister of Defense!
Rodeo is a national sport. The rodeo replicates work on the range, where a huaso ("cowboy") picks out a cow from the herd and has his horse nudge it into an area where it can be worked on. The horse has to be able to run sideways to do this!
Three times around this inner semi-circle (media luna) then the riders and calf ride into the larger ring. Calves await their turn. Ricardo says some rodeos are actually held in open fields that better mimick the horsemanship where it was first used. He also says that women are beginnng to enter rodeo competitions.
Choice spots to watch the action where the horses and riders try to pin the calf against the cushioned section at each end of the media luna. The horses are nimble, have strong chests, and can gallop sideways to keep a cow moving in the right direction. Chances are you've never seen anything like this.
Riders rest their horses after a round.
Ricardo and his riding partner Gato Ledezma won enough points Saturday to compete again on Sunday. Now they await their turn. A moment later, the door opens and the calf bolts out with Ricardo and Gato in pursuit.
Teams work in tandem. Ricardo's partner, his horse riding sideways, tries to pin the calf against the cushioned area at one end of the media luna. Ricardo and his horse will do the same thing at the other end of the media luna shaped outer arena.
I waited for Ricardo's next round to make a video. Thirty three seconds after his round began, my camera battery lost its juice!
As is the custom, the winners dance the cueca with the queens of the rodeo.
Photos and videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.