Charreria (Mexican Rodeo) was born in the early 1500s. Hidalgo state’s haciendas were the cradle of this discipline, which was officially recognized with Charro Ponciano’s famous horsemanship and roping stunts. Ponciano became a symbol of bravery and a great idol for Mexicans.
Charreria’s popularity has continued to grow and today the sport is practiced all over the country. It has managed to push boundaries, especially after UNESCO included it in its Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2016.
Charreria is an art and a discipline that evolved from equestrian and ranching traditions. It is made of nine events: calada de caballos (reining), piales en lienzo (heeling), coladero (steer tailing), jineteo del toro (bull riding), terna en el ruedo (team roping), jineteo en yegua (bareback on a wild mare), manganas a pie (forefooting), and paso de la muerte (deadly maneuver).
The charro tradition is deep-rooted in Aguascalientes too. The state’s vocation and commitment to charreria—in which we have always excelled has earned it four national championships.
The Escaramuza Sanmarqueña de Aguascalientes (the state’s female equestrian team) has won two national championships. We won first place in manganas and fifth in team roping, said Gustavo Alberto Jimenez, president of the Charro Union and Association of Aguascalientes.
The Charro Tradition of Aguascalientes
- Host to 1954, 1980, 1983 and 2004 national tournaments
- 34 associations
- 40 charro (horseman/cowboy) teams
- 20 escaramuza (skirmish) teams
- Around 1,000 charros and escaramuzas
After two decades since the last tournament, Aguascalientes has been chosen to host the 2021 National Charro Congress, an event that will mark a turning point for national charreria as it will be held at the new Lienzo Charro—arena where the sport is practiced—in Isla San Marcos.
Leonardo Dávila Salinas, President of the Mexican Charro Association, explains that this project was born in 2017 after a meeting between his association and Martin Orozco Sandoval, present governor of Aguascalientes, in which a commitment was made for the state to hold the event once again.
The charro community is proud to host a national championship because for 22 days we’ll be receiving more than 200 teams that will show the cultural contribution and beauty of this sport to the world, said Dávila Salinas.
The Charreria Cathedral
Thanks to the sport’s grand tradition in the state, Aguascalientes was selected among several states that submitted a tender, to build the largest lienzo charro of Mexico. The construction of this arena has already begun, and it will be completed in time for the competition. These are some numbers of this modern arena.
Dávila Salinas mentions that Aguascalientes was, and still is, one of the most important states for the practice and promotion of this sport as it has advantages over other places, like its nearness to the biggest cities of the country, its transport connectivity, and the hotels to accommodate large numbers of visitors.
We definitely needed to have a stadium with this dimensions in central Mexico. It will be an unrivaled place. More than 200 thousand visitors are expected. The event will have around 200 million viewers. The National Charro Congress will be an international showcase of the government’s achievements, concluded Dávila Salinas.