I thought the national sport of Mexico would be soccer, but it’s really Charrería. Really? Charrería? It turns out the Mexican rodeo is extremely popular in the central parts of Mexico. I’d been to the rodeo before when my family visited Texas a few years ago, but I wanted to see the difference between the two. So I gathered a few brave souls to go with me, and we headed to the local competition.

I noticed the first difference right off the bat. The Charros (traditional Mexican horseman) wore brightly colored costumes. This one Charro had on a bright blue hat with gray custom designs and his suit was gray with the same bright blue in the patterns. It was fully coordinated, even down to the bright blue cowboy boots he wore. He also had on a bright blue scarf around his neck. It kind of reminded me of a mariachi costume smacked with bright blue paint. And the costumes got even better. There was a woman in a long, hot pink dress with puffy shoulders and a white ruffle bell-shaped bottom. I kept thinking to myself that she was too beautiful to participate in this type of competition, but she got down and dirty with the rest of the men and women out there.

Mexican Charros - Photo by Ehecatzin

Mexican Charros – Photo by Ehecatzin

Another major difference I saw was the Charros worked in teams and not as individuals. In the competitions in Texas, the riders tried to win the competition and the prize money as an individual, whereas the Charros in Mexico won their individual competitions to add to their team’s total points. Then at the end of all nine of the different mini challenges, the team with the most points wins. Wins what, you ask? Not money, but glory and pride for their riding association. I would have wanted a cash prize for risking my life, but the Charros do it for bragging rights.

I’m glad I went and experienced the Charrería. Aside from the great Mexican food and the colorful scenery, I got a taste of the rich Mexican tradition that’s been around since the 1500’s. The sport has grown and evolved since the sixteenth century, and I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow in the twenty-first century. Maybe I’ll come back to see it all on a larger scale on Charro Day on September 14th.

Activities:

  1. List the main differences between charros and cowboys.
  2. What do you think would be most entertaining about watching charrería? Why?
  3. Charrería is a derivative word made by adding the suffix –ería to the stem of the word charro:

    charro ➞ charrería
    Add the suffix –ería to the following words to create the derivative words.

    Guess the meaning of the new words!
    fruta ➞
    niño ➞
    helado ➞
    pescado ➞
    carne ➞