The Mexican Heritage Rodeo adds a spicy flair to the 100th Greeley Stampede during Sunday’s celebrations

The final rodeo-themed event graced the grounds of the 100th Greeley Stampede on Sunday, bringing with it flair and cultural significance.

The Heritage of Mexico Rodeo started Sunday at 1 p.m. in the arena in front of a nearly full grandstand. Charro Jerry Diaz and company brought the colorful and festive event to Weld County for the first time, which included folk dancers, tightrope acts and live mariachi music, as well as performances by the world’s best charros at numerous rodeo-style events.

The Mexican Heritage Rodeo was held at the 100th Greeley Stampede on Sunday with folk dances, displays of charros and charras, singing and more. (Tamara Markard/staff reporter)
The Heritage of Mexico Rodeo took place Sunday at the 100th Greeley Stampede with folk dances, displays of charros and charras, singing and more. (Tamara Markard/staff reporter)

The Diaz family – Jerry, Staci and their son Nicolas – from New Braunfels, TX, travel across the United States bringing Mexican rodeo traditions to audiences at numerous rodeos and state fairs each year. They also operate a 50-acre horse training facility where they host presentations and training for public and private groups throughout the year.

Jerry Diaz is a fourth-generation charro dedicated to keeping the tradition of Mexican rodeos alive and honoring the memory of his great-grandfather, who founded the traveling performance group over 150 years ago. In addition to traveling with the show, Jerry Diaz has produced some of the biggest Mexican rodeos in the world including Best of Mexico, Mexican Rodeo Spectacular and the Mexican Rodeo Fiesta. In 2004, Jerry Diaz was inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame for his work with the Mexican rodeos.

A charro is a Mexican cowboy highly skilled in horsemanship, bull riding, roping, and trickroping.

Charros line up in front of the slides at the Greeley Stampede Arena while the crowd sings both the Mexican and American national anthems ahead of Sunday's Mexican Heritage Rodeo. (Tamara Markard/staff reporter)
Charros line up in front of the slides at the Greeley Stampede Arena as the crowd sings both the Mexican and American national anthems ahead of Sunday’s Heritage of Mexico Rodeo. (Tamara Markard/staff reporter)

During the show, the Diaz family presented their Pure Spanish Horse Andalusian stallions to the audience. Appreciated by Spanish nobility, Andalusian horses are known for their muscular, compact bodies, long thick manes and tails, elegance, intelligence, sensitivity and docility.

As the spectators watched, the Diaz family demonstrated the various prancing cadences of the majestic horses, called dances, around the ring, having the horses kneel, walk on their two hind legs, and lie down and get up again.

The rules for bareback bronc and bull riding, known as “jaripeo,” differ at Mexican rodeos from those that audiences see at American rodeos. Instead of staying behind the beast for eight seconds, Mexican churros ride the broncs and bulls until the beasts tire and stop bucking.

As in American bull riding, the charro can hold on to a strap wrapped around the animal’s abdomen with only one hand, while the other hand remains in the air.

The winner of Sunday’s bareback bronc competition was Jesus Castillo of Chihuahua with a score of 82. Victory in the bullriding segment went to Homero Martinez with a score of 83.

A bull tramples a charro after it falls to the ground while riding the bull at the Mexican Heritage Rodeo at the 100th Greeley Stampede on Sunday. (Tamara Markard/staff reporter)
A bull tramples a charro after it falls to the ground at the 100th Greeley Stampede at the Heritage of Mexico Rodeo bull riding on Sunday. (Tamara Markard/staff reporter)

Another difference between American rodeos and Mexican rodeos is the numerous acts. Spectators attending Sunday’s Mexican Heritage Rodeo were treated to trick roping, horse displays, dancing, singing and trick roping.

At the Rauch das Horn exhibition, or Piales en Lienzo, a wild mare is strapped in and the rope is then wrapped around the oversized saddle horn and used as a lever. The dye rope generates so much heat that it begins to smoke, and if the charro isn’t careful, they can lose fingers or thumbs.

Charros with the group demonstrated the unusual event for the audience with smoke billowing into the air from the saddle horn.

The event ended with a matador show. As the matador strutted into the arena in the traditional fitted underpants and jacket, a Mexican fighting bull patiently waited to appear in an enclosure at the side of the arena.

The matador first demonstrated his prowess with a larger pink and gold cape, which he twirled around when the bull charged at him. After that, the matador picked up a smaller traditional red cloak. With twists and turns, the cloak flowed over the bull’s head and horns as the matador gracefully paced around the bull.

After safely returning to the back of the slides, the charros and dancers flooded the arena floor for their final performance.

For more information about Jerry Diaz Productions and the Heritage of Mexico Rodeo, visit www.charrojerrydiaz.com.

https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/07/04/heritage-of-mexico-rodeo-adds-spicy-flair-to-100th-greeley-stampede-during-sundays-festivities/ The Mexican Heritage Rodeo adds a spicy flair to the 100th Greeley Stampede during Sunday’s celebrations

James Brien

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