Rodeo in the Patagonian Style

Basic things about the “rodeo” (down here we say rodéo, emphasizing the “E”): It’s a traditional Chilean sport from the colonial times that survived through these days.

Take a young cattle, two horses and two horsemen (called “collera”). Ride the cow three times and then race it through the rounded arena and smash the cattle with the horses into the borders of the corral. You hit the cow too close to the head? No points. Too close to the tail or legs? No points. Directly in the side? Up to 4 points. Repeat 3 times and you’re done, take your cow out and now entering the next “collera”, the next cattle and so on for like, easily, 3 hours.

I must say I am biased regarding this sport. Partly, because it represents loads of the colonial way that landlords and people from the country used to live together, partly because it’s of no use to hit a cow repeatedly and giving the animal no chance to either “win” or make a stand for itself. Mainly though, it seems so odd for me as a native from Patagonia, to observe these behaviors, dressings and everything rodeo-wise in an area that has nothing to do with it, either historically or culturally.

It’s a way, though, for families to enjoy, have fun and all. And here, in the vastness of the pampa, there’s room for everyone.

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