Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chilean Independence Day Part 2

No Independence Day would be complete without a rodeo-and Chile is no exception. We went to the local rodeo in Pirque and walked around the grounds outside the arena too. Huaso(cowboy) wares aplenty for sale and Helia explained the finer points to me.

The Chilean saddle is completely different from western saddles but oh-so comfortable.

Yes, rides for the kiddies and ice cream and cotton candy too. And some pretty good people watching.

The Fonda is a big beer/chicha hall with dancing and barbeque.

And then, the main event the rodeo. The rodeo has one important event. They use older calves they call bulls(after the rodeo they apparently go to slaughter). The huasos attempt to control the bull, keeping to the outside edge of the arena. One huaso in back and one to the side of the bull. The bulls are supposed to be used one time only but many obviously knew this routine and tried to get back to the corral. They are scored on their control of the bull. Then, at a place in the arena which is padded, they actually run the horse into the bull, pushing it against the padded area(they score higher for hitting the bull just right) and often knocking the bull to the ground.

Huasos controll the bull. Chilean horses have a special sidestepping gait that is unique.

Getting into position out of the gate.

Losing control of the bull. Notice the padded area-this is where the huasos were to stop the bull.

Two huasos after their run.

Huaso gear. Parade stirrups and nasty looking spurs.

Viva Chile! Now can I have a nap?