Charreria – Mexikansk rodeokultur i Kalifornien

Sam Quinones i Los Angeles Times har en bra artikel om mexikansk rodeokultur i södra kalifornien

In the last few years, Southern California has emerged as a center of traditional Mexican rodeo. Leading Mexican American businessmen are sponsoring charro teams and building rodeo arenas. Three trick-roping schools have opened. The number of officially recognized charro teams has nearly doubled, to 65.

California now ranks fourth in the world in the number of sanctioned teams, behind the Mexican states of Jalisco, Hidalgo and the state of Mexico. Most of California’s riders are Mexican Americans carrying on a tradition brought here by their immigrant parents.

In 2002, the three best Mexican rodeo teams came to Los Angeles and were whipped by upstart U.S.-born charros.

In El Monte and Pico Rivera, in Sylmar, San Fernando, and in parts of Chino, there are communities of rodeo devotees. Mira Loma (pop. 17,000) in Riverside County is inhabited mostly by immigrants from Jalisco and Zacatecas and now has six charro teams. Riders tie up their horses and sit down to eat at Enrique’s Seafood, a charro hangout.

A bidding war for the best quarter-horses erupted, doubling the prices over the last five years to as much as $15,000.

The growing popularity of charreria, and the increased political sophistication of Mexican Americans, was evident in their response to a 2002 proposal to outlaw bull-tailing, a rodeo event in which charros pull a running bull to the ground by the tail.

Years before, the state Senate had banned horse-tripping, part of another charreria event. Charros went to Sacramento, dressed in traditional riding outfits. Their representative spoke broken English. They knew no one at the state Capitol. Only two senators voted against the ban on horse-tripping, and the practice remains illegal in California.