Updated: Jun 20, 2018
Charrería is known as Mexico’s national sport that involves sportsmanship including skillful roping, rope tricks, talented horsemanship, and cattle work. Charrería has been recently inscribed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. This is an acknowledgement worth noting as we strive to create spaces for cultural expression and to keep traditions alive as means to foster a community spirit and healthy and harmonious communities. The sport dates back to be 1500s when the Spanish conquerors brought horses and cattle to the Americas. Charrería has endured. The large hacienda fields in Mexico provided a perfect landscape for the sport, agriculture and cattle raising that shaped the culture of the Charro. The sport has served as a foundation for Mexican identity and pride in dire times, especially after the Mexican Revolution. In the early 1930s, the president of Mexico officially recognized Charrería the country’s national sport. To this day, the sport remains vibrant in towns and cities across Mexico and in many parts of the United States bringing people of all socioeconomic backgrounds together to witness the artful sport. Charrería encompasses tradition, culture, family and friendship and rightly so. The iconic Charro is representative of “La Mexicanidad”, the mexicanness. Since 2007, an annual Charrería championship has taken place in the Portland area and as a statewide association, we want to expand our presence to the Eugene/Springfield and surrounding areas. Governed by the Federación Mexicana de Charrería (Mexican Charrería Federation), headquartered in Mexico City, the sport includes a variety of events such as parade, reining, bull riding, team roping, bronc riding and a variety of rope trick exhibitions. Additionally, there is Escaramuza in which women execute daring feats and precision maneuvers while riding sidesaddle. The Charro outfit, adapted from Spain to the Mexican landscape, includes lightweight short boots called botines, spurs, elaborate hand-sewn pants and shirts, belts, belt buckles, leather chaps, bowties, and the traditional Mexican sombrero. Many artisans in Mexico still make a living in certain aspects of the sport such as saddlery, silversmiths work for spurs, belt buckles or saddle hardware, making sombreros, boots, outfits, riatas and ropes. The women’s participation in Escaramuza symbolizes the role of women during the Mexican Revolution, a reference to the skilled and strategic horsemanship they displayed on the battlefield.