Celebrating the Charro

Photo By: http://bit.ly/2CEkoCu

Photo By: http://bit.ly/2CEkoCu

Many Puerto Vallarta visitors are fascinated by the Charro and the sport of Charrería, so here’s a look at the history and cultural significance of this important figure and famous sport. Charro translates most directly to “cowboy;” however, Mexican Charros differ from the traditional ideas of American cowboys in their mannerisms, clothing style, etiquette and cultural role.

The Charro has been a fixture in Mexican heritage since the Spanish Conquest. Ranchers would outfit their workers with distinctive clothing and horse-riding equipment to denote wealth and status. In 1810, it was the Charros who fought for Mexico’s freedom during the Independence movement, then in nineteenth-century fought against the French Intervention and in the Reform Wars. Whether a hacienda owner or a combatant in the revolutionary movement of 1910, the Charro has played an important role in Mexico’s freedom and history.

In the 1930s, Charrería was popularized by the charros of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta’s state, and ultimately grew to become Mexico’s national sport. The Banderas News explains: “Charrería is best described as a mix of rodeo skills and dressage, with riders showing traditional competitive roping and ranch skills, but also exquisite costumes, custom tack and horse grooming, and horsemanship skills…”

The Charro and Charrería are alive and well, and in fact, such an important part of Mexico’s cultural fabric that there’s an International Mariachi and Charro Festival. For photos and more information from this year’s event, visit: mariachi-jalisco.com.