The Arizona Republic
Aug. 29, 2007



Author: Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic
Estimated printed pages: 3

It's been called the Super Bowl of Mexican rodeos, a national championship whose winning team goes on from Phoenix to compete in the Mexican nationals.

Beginning Friday at Corona Ranch, national finalists chosen earlier this summer will compete in the 38th annual Congreso y Campeonato Nacional Charro.

The Asociacion Nacional de Charros was formed in 1921 to keep the centuries-old tradition of the charreria, or Mexican adaptation of Spanish equestrian contests, alive, establishing the charreada style of rodeo.

In 1933, the charreria, on which the American rodeo was based, was named the national sport of Mexico. It wasn't until the 1970s that the Federacion Mexicana de Charreria began establishing official charreadas north of the border as a way for Mexican-Americans to celebrate and stay connected to their heritage.

A charreada consists of a number of scored events for male and female teams competing for the honor of the sport, not money, while dressed in traditional charro clothing.

The males compete in nine events, or suertes, in which both horse and rider are judged on style and execution, beginning with cala de caballo, which tests the rider's control of the horse. In this event, the charro, a Mexican cowboy, puts his horse through various commands -- controlled slide; left and right half, full, and triple turns; dismount and mount; and reverse walk.

In piales en lienzo -- or the roping of the feet -- three charros throw a lariat to catch and stop a mare by roping the hind legs.

In colas, the charro rides along the left side of the bull, wraps its tail around his right leg, and tries to cause the bull to fall and roll as he rides.

Jineteo de toros is Mexican bull-riding. The charro rides until the bull stops bucking.

This is followed by la terna en el ruedo (team of three), in which three charros rope a bull and tie its feet together in less than 10 minutes.

Jineteo de yegua is the bareback riding of a wild mare with a bull rope.

In manganas a pie, a charro on foot has three chances to rope a wild mare by its front legs and cause it to fall once and roll. Bonus points are awarded for the tiron del ahorcado, in which the rope is around the charro's neck and he uses his body to cause the mare to fall and roll. In managanas a caballo, a charro on horseback has three tries to rope a wild mare by its front legs.

The final event is the paso de la muerte, where the charro must jump from a reined horse with no saddle to the bare back of a wild horse with no reins, which is going at full speed around the arena. It's not for nothing that it's called the pass of death, especially considering the threat of being trampled by the other horses being used to chase the wild mare.

There is no pass of death in the women's events, which are held, according to the charreada's Web site, to add "beauty and elegance to the proceedings." Teams of eight women, escaramuza, ride sidesaddle dressed in colorful, wide-ruffled adelita dresses performing a variety of precision riding techniques.

Mariachi will perform throughout. And Saturday night, they'll have a dance, the noche Mexicana, with three bands performing: Banda Pena Blanca; Caribe; and Pumas de Sinaloa en Hacenzados.

There's also a museum of charreria with a charro on hand to give a detailed explanation of each exhibit.

Several local teams will compete in the finals, including Perla Tapatia, which took home first place honors this summer in the regional semifinals (also at Corona Ranch). Local teams also took second and third place in the
semifinals: Escaramuza el Herradero and Escaramuza las Buagambilia.

Congreso y Campeonato Nacional Charro

When: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Monday.

Where: Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, 7611 S. 29th Ave. (29th Avenue and Baseline Road), Laveen.

Tickets: $15; free for ages 11 and younger. Dance is $30.

Details: (602) 237-1002 or

CAPTION: 1.-2. National finalists chosen earlier this summer will compete in the Congreso y Campeonato Nacional Charro at Corona Ranch in Phoenix. Events start Friday. CAPTION: 3. Gilberto Garcia competes in Cala (or reigning) during the Mexican Rodeo regional finals at Corona Ranch in Phoenix.
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Phoenix Republic 21
Page: 3