“It” was the first ladies charra championship held yesterday! But judging by the the roar of the crowd, this will indeed become a fabulous annual event for everyone in Bucerias to enjoy! This event is additional to our annual charro held January/February – details will be confirmed – and that’s when the men also show their skills on horseback, including roping the bullocks/calves (no animals are harmed).
It has to be said that the publicised 2pm start didn’t happen! It was 3.30 before the speeches, the 6 trumpeters and enthusiastic 8 drummers heralded saluting the flag, the anthem, presentation of certificates of appreciation to the delegate of the charro and to the coach, the blessing and finally – the official opening, which was timed at 3.45 pm. The welcome – and the apologies – were in English. That was a first. More Nacionales turned up about 4pm with true Mexican timing, and made a real picnic of it, eating and drinking purchased from the vendors. And here was another first – the main bar was selling not just beer but also fixings for cocktails – and wine!
There were four teams of ladies presenting their skills. The first team were the youngest, their ages ranged from 12 down to only 5 – and we were told they’d been in training for only one month. To begin with they had come out a few times – a tantalising display to appease the crowd – and we were all amazed at how confidently the youngest, Jocelyn aged 5, maintained her position and controlled her pony. These girls were all bareheaded and after the opening ceremony, the “fathers” (meaning the parents) came down to the arena to crown them with the typical Mexican flat backed riding sombrero, to give them a small bouquet of flowers, and to bless them.
The patience of the crowd (about 300, of whom 60 were visitors) was rewarded as individually some of the ladies galloped into the arena to bring their horse to a full stop at a designated point: clouds of dust whirled up from the hooves, the ladies’ dresses billowed up, the horses staggered back & reared on their hindquarters as their mistress slammed on the brakes! Great applause. Each team performed “the cross” – horses being threaded their way in and out – at increasing speeds, our host team were the fastest – or were we biaised? Circling and charging, getting into line at speed alongside the arena wall, and then with a final whoop and a flick of the whip – they roared out of the arena. If these women had been in battle their opponents would have succumbed really quickly! And remember – the majority of these ladies are doing it all side saddle!
The colours of their dresses were beautiful, as always: vivid bougainvillea purple, turquoise, gold… yards and yards of material bouncing around. These beautiful young girls, mainly in their teens, kept their straight backed regal composure until their beau or brother called out as they passed by, and then the sweetheart turned around with sparkling eyes and a dazzling smile. They all carried little drawstring purses to match their costumes – what was in them? Mainly: smart phones or tablets!
The majority of visitors left about 5.30 after the ladies had been presented, minus horses, for a photocall which was akin to drawing the curtain. The men – inspired by the occasion and maybe some Corona – then gave an unscheduled performance for a short while, and then the ladies were back, proving – we have to say – their superiority.
Wonderful event, kudos to all!