The Charreada Challenge – Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico


This post is part 3 of 5 in the series Lagos de Moreno, Mexico

Before we take you to a charreada (Mexican  rodeo) we need you to forget about rodeos you may have seen in the US or Canada. In Mexico (where rodeo was born), it’s a whole different animal.

For starters, it’s a team sport with each charro (Mexican cowboy) on the team competing on behalf of the team in the event or events in which he excels at the most.

Charreada is a team competition and a bit of a beauty pageant.

After the Mexican Revolution Mexicans began to worry that the charro traditions were being lost so official organizations were formed to foster and govern what it means to be a charro and to keep the charreadas alive. They’ve done a good job and today charros and charreadas are very well respected. This video will show you why:

The first event in a charreada is Cala de Caballo and it’s one of the toughest charreada events to master. Besides the sliding stop (shown below) riders must train their horses to pivot in a tight, fast circle on one back leg. Then do it in the other direction.

The first event of a charreada is Cala de Caballo, a reining and responsiveness challenge that (among other things) requires a horse to gallop at full speed, then slam on the brakes without lifting his back feet for the duration of the sliding stop which is judged on distance and definition.

Charros competing in a charreada are awarded points for graceful and skilled execution, but points can also be taken away for any one of a confounding minefield of infractions in each event.

The second event of a charreada is Piales en Lienzo, or heeling, which involves roping the back legs (heels) of a galloping mustang....

...then roping her to the ground. That smoke you see is the result of heat generated by the rope wound around the saddle horn actually burning through the horn.

Often called the national sport of Mexico, charreada has strict rules about what each competing charro must wear and carry on his saddle in order to participate. Forget even one item and you can be disqualified.

Another essential element is a Mexican saddle, characterized by an over-sized saddle horn. The extra girth is needed to withstand events like Piales en Lienzo during which a wild mare is roped and the rope is then wrapped around the horn which is used to leverage the rope until the mare is brought to the ground.

So much heat is generated by the straining rope that it would burn right through the petite saddle horns used on Western saddles in the US. Even the Mexican mega-horns sometimes need reinforcements. Most charros competing in Piales en Lienzo wrap many layers of twine around their saddle horns before competing as a level of protection between the rope and their saddles.

Our friend Juan Zermeno, a competitive charro and much sought-after horse trainer. Notice how delicately he holds the reins.

The third event of a charreada is Colas en el Lienzo, or Coleadero or steer tailing and it's aptly named in any language: a mounted cowboy at the gallop grabs the tail of a running steer, wraps it around his leg and flips the steer over. Elapsed time: about seven seconds.

A properly tailed steer should end up like this with all four hooves in the air.

Winning teams aren’t awarded any money at the end of a charreada–just bragging rights and, maybe, a trophy.

The fourth event in a charreada is Jineteo de Toro or bull riding. The bulls may be smaller than the ones they ride in the PBR but the hats are bigger.

Charreada events aren’t timed as they are in rodeos in the US and, honestly, sometimes there’s not much action in the action. On the other hand, slow moments give you ample time to go get another cerveza…

The fifth event in a charreada is Terna en el Ruedo or team roping. First the bull is ridden, then it's roped by the back legs then by the front legs. Fancy rope work punctuates this event which is more elegant than fast.

Everyone goes to their local charreadas–crooked old charros, young couples, gorgeous women dressed to the nines and, of course, families and aspiring charros.

Charrito!

The sixth event in a charreada is Jineteo de Yegua or bronc riding.

Probably the most dramatic event in a charreada is Manganas a Pie or forefooting in which a charro on foot ropes the front legs of a galloping wild mare, then uses his own body to stop her and pull her to the ground. They do this by (ready?) wrapping the rope around a part of their own bodies. Usually their thigh or their waist. Some charros, however, wrap the rope around their neck. The finishing flourish involves the charro digging his heels in to stop the mare then throwing himself on the ground to finish the job. It takes skill and guts and a dash of insanity.

The seventh event in a charreada is Manganas a Pie or forefooting which involves more fancy rope work before a charro on foot ropes a wild mare by the forelegs then stops her by wrapping the rope around part of his body and throwing himself on the ground.

The seventh event in a charreada is Manganas a Pie or forefooting which involves more fancy rope work before a charro on foot ropes a wild mare by the forelegs then stops her by wrapping the rope around part of his body.

The seventh event in a charreada is Manganas a Pie or forefooting which involves more fancy rope work before a charro on foot ropes a wild mare by the forelegs then stops her by wrapping the rope around part of his body and throwing himself on the ground.

The eighth event of a charreada is also called Manganas a Caballo or forefooting, but this time the work is done on horseback not on foot.

The ninth event of a charreada is El Paso de la Muerte, literally the Pass of Death. It involves a charro moving from the bare back of his own horse onto the bare back of a galloping wild mare then riding the bucking mare before dismounting. But you can’t just fall off. In order to earn maximum points (and avoiding losing points for incomplete execution) a charro in this event must land on his feet, Nadia Komenich style.

The ninth event of a charreada is El Paso de la Muerte, literally the Pass of Death. It involves a charro moving from the bare back of his own horse onto the bare back of galloping wild mare then riding the bucking mare before dismounting and (hopefully) landing on his feet for max points.

Mexicans love a fiesta and a charreada is the mother of them all because it

Some charreadas include a tenth event for female charros. Called escaramuzas, the women wear colorful, traditional, many layered dresses called Adelitas and they perform intricate choreographed patterns while riding sidesaddle.

[geo_mashup_map]


Series Navigation:<< Branding Day – Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, MexicoOn Horseback Through History – Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico >>

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Last updated by on .

Support us on Patreon





7 comments on “The Charreada Challenge – Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico

    • Thanks for checking out our blog and thanks for your message. Regarding your question, charreadas large and small happen all the time in Jalisco. To gain unprecedented access and insight into charreadas in the Lagos de Moreno are we suggest you arrange to spend some time with Jorge “Pancho” Serrano Zermeno. He can be reached at:

      indianboymx AT yahoo

      Tell him Karen and Eric from the Trans-Americas Journey sent you!

  1. Pingback: Mexico rodeo

  2. These pictures were taken at the lienzo Santa María (pics 1, 4, 7, 8, 13, 14, 16, 17), was inaugurated in 1991 when the King of Spain Juan Carlos I visited, and belongs to the city of Lagos de Moreno. The other lienzo is named “Samuel Antuñano Tovar” at Rancho Verde in Lagos (pics 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15). A brother of Don Samuel Antuñano Tovar, José de Jesus, invented and implemented the rectangle of 6 meters x 20 meters used for the Cala de Caballo. Don Samuel was a national judge of charrería and is the person at the far left of the rectangle in the picture of the Cala and has won multiple national championships in colas (2x), piales (1x), manganas a caballo (3x). He also led an escaramuza india, consisting of daughters, nieces and other girls from Lagos, who only rode bareback and won the national championship multiple years being better than the famed escaramuza Raramuri. He also trained his own horses. His father was one of the cofounders of organized charrería in Lagos.

    The person in picture 5 looks to be Toño “El Canelo” Orozco one of the best in Mexico in colas

    The person in picture 6, Juan Zermeño, is also a national champion in manganas.

    Lagos is also where charrería started because of the large haciendas in the area which were the principal ranches to provide beef to the country. You can read about that in Spanish at http://www.am.com.mx/Nota.aspx?ID=408323

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge