• 68°

Out West at the rodeo

DENVER, COLO. — If you ever find yourself in Denver in the heart of January, don’t miss the National Western Stock Show.
If you like county or state fairs without the amusement rides, this is the place to be.
This year’s 107th edition of the show boasts of having 15,000 head of livestock with everything from chickens and rabbits to bison and alpaca. The 16-day event had 636,663 visitors last year to see the animal judging, the 350 vendor booths, farm equipment displays and the daily specialty shows such at the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza.
On the day of my visit to the big show, the morning temperature in Denver started at 2 degrees and only rose to 15 degrees for a high during show time. Luckily, all the activities were inside warm buildings.
The week of shows began with a parade of Texas longhorns through downtown Denver, much like the parade of elephants when the circus comes to town.
The stock show is said to be “where the city meets the country.” Where the smell of hay, animal feed and cow manure blends with modern day city life. Where in 1906 there were four English breeds (Angus, Galloway, Hereford, and Shorthorn) of cattle in the show, there are now 20 breeds.
I learned that cowboy hats and boots are the style and the only fashion at the show. Hundreds of hats in all colors for men and women.
The leather and suede boots cannot be overly fancy. The plain cowboy boot is out. One vendor said the boot is like “wearing jewelry on your feet.”
Pink boots are big this year. Add any colors you like to your pink boots with any inlay or overlay pattern you like and it is in style. Another vendor said the boots were “eye candy.”
Interestingly, looking at hundreds of “genuine” western leather belts with the large ornate buckles, all were made in China.
A very popular booth had almost every type of mounted animal trophy head that you could imagine.
Bison, elk, deer, and on and on with some full bodies like a black bear lying on a tree limb. The bear was priced at $3,500. This area was a taxidermists’ dream world.
Next to the animal booth there was a chair with two six-shooter guns as the arm rests. I don’t know the price of the chair but the sign did say “don’t sit in this chair.”
The Mexican Extravaganza might be the most entertaining and exciting of the specialty shows.
The show opens with the mariachi band playing and the lady dancers dressed in full white dresses dancing.
The show combines bareback horsemanship, bull riders and bronco riders, with the pageantry folkloric dancers and Amazonas de Colorado team of women riding sidesaddle in choreographed patterned formations.
The tradition is that during the Mexican Revolution, the women riding sidesaddle were decoys drawing the solders away from the revolutionist fighters.
The show is a combination of American and Mexican cultures where the Mexican heritage relates to the Western rodeo.
The Mexican rancheros wear the traditional big wide brimmed sombreros that weigh about 5 pounds, while trying to stay on the back of the bucking bulls or bronco horses. Their dress is boots and spurs, vests, tightly fitted suits and a big western belt buckle around their pants. The dress is practical but historically correct. The skills of the rancheros in roping cattle were once used to stop stampeding cattle but now are part of the history of the taming of the west. It is hard to separate the art of the show from the history of ranching.
The trained horses trotted, sidestepped and even bowed to the crowd. They stood perfectly motionless while Charro Geraldo “Jerry” Diaz stood on the saddle doing rope tricks.
Diaz is the star and producer of the show. He is a fourth generation charro, a skilled Mexican horseman, with skills dating back to the 17th century.
His 9-year-old son, Nicholas Diaz, dressed in an Indian costume, is learning the craft with his horse doing tricks like sitting or lying down.
The traditional charreada differs from a western rodeo with the winners of events not receiving money.
It’s considered an amateur sport and winning money would turn it into a professional sport.
The show had the prettiest horses I have ever seen. Their coats were so shiny they glistened under the arena lights.
The native colorful Mexican and Navaho Indian costumes were breathtaking as the performers entertained.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

Coronavirus

Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan, six for the week

Crime

Blotter: Man brandishes AR-15, runs over motorcycle at Rockwell-area gas station

Crime

Salisbury man charged with exploitation of minor

Crime

Road rage incident results in assault charges

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Nation/World

FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID

High School

Coaches, lawmakers react to governor’s order expanding sporting event capacity

Coronavirus

Three new COVID-19 deaths, positives remain below triple digits

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper announces end to curfew, changes to restrictions affecting bars, high school sports

Crime

Blotter: Two charged after call about package

Crime

Salisbury Police investigating two shootings

Crime

Chase involving Kernersville man ends in woods behind Carson High School