Wednesday, February 03, 2010

dancing with bulls

I love rodeos.

I grew up around competing cowboys in southern Oregon.  No summer would have been complete without an afternoon and evening watching the latest rodeo circuit.

On Friday I jolted awake from a nap convinced that Kaiser Bill's troops were invading Mexico with Pancho Villa in the lead.*

It was an odd dream.  But even after I was awake I could hear the distinct oom-pahs of a Bavarian marching band.  Well, a Bavarian marching band with a strong splash of pulque.

Putting dos and dos together, I realized it was rodeo night.  Or, more accurately, rodeo weekend. 

Mexico is celebrating the enactment of its 1917 Constitution this weekend.  The document that was the beginning of the end of the 1910 revolution.  The document that prohibits me from being commissioned as the commander of the local Army base or to own outright the house I currently rent.  

So, we party.

The reason the oom-pahs sounded so close is simple: they were.  The rodeo arena (what I had mistaken as a bull ring) is about three blocks from my living room.

I quickly learned that there is as much difference between a Mexican and an Oregonian rodeo as there is between chiles relleno and tuna hot dish.

There are 5 days of rodeo.  I attended a good portion of the first.

The cost is reasonable $50 (MX).  About $4 (US).  As it turns out, quite a bargain.

Here is what you get for your money.  A community party.

Sure, there are cowboy events.  But the whole focus of the rodeo is the stands.  Almost everyone dressed as a cowboy or cowgirl.  No blurring of sex roles at this party.  Young women looking their best.   Young men looking for a handy dancing party.

And music.  More live mariachi music than you could shake a maraca at.  Along with young men twirling a series of beautiful girls in the aisles.

But, of course, there are animals and cowboys.  While we danced and listened to music, several horsemen maneuvered around the arena with their prancing mounts.  Beautiful horses.  Beautiful horsemanship.

Then more mariachi music.

A cowboy did his best to ride a rather nasty brahma bull.  The bull was wise.  He decided his best defense was not to buck, but merely to lie down.  He did.    Apparently following Count Kutuzov's maxim: "Dans le doute, abstiens-toi."  When in doubt, do nothing.  Time and patience are a warrior's best friends. 

It took a good ten minutes for the horsemen to clear the arena of the dozy toro.

Then more mariachi music.

More dancing horses.

More mariachi music.

Another bull with greater activity.

More mariachi music.

You get the general drift.  I stayed for five hours enjoying my neighbors and their fun.

I have not yet developed the amazing Mexican ability to simply have fun.  No matter how much time it takes.  So, home I went.

According to the noise and music coming from the arena, my neighbors did not call the official party quits until about 2 AM.

And there have now been several nights of celebration.

I am going to try to attend another night -- if I can shake my head cold.

It would be a shame if someone put on a rodeo and no one came.

* - The sentence skirts the blood libel that Pancho Villa was a German agent during World War One.  There is no evidence that he was.  Of course, Oliver Stone and Michael Moore could weave a film either way.


Anonymous said...

This brought back memories of the Lewiston Roundup...the most anticipated event of every year from my initial stomping grounds. My sisters and I won a prize for best costumes (homemade of course!) during the Centennial year. What could be better than smelly brahma bulls, flinging sweaty cowboys and pink cotton candy (no pun intended)? Mary

Chrissy y Keith said...

I love the Rodeo's in Melaque. Your will so enjoy St. Patricks Day.

Nita said...

I noticed your mention of not being allowed to buy your property. I have heard something about that, but wondered if you could give more information.

Steve Cotton said...

Mary -- There is something magic about rodeos. Unfortunately, the last night was rained out.

Chrissy -- I am looking forward to St. Patrick's Day.

Nita -- There is a lot of information on the limitation of foreigners buying property in the restricted zone. I may take up the topic in the future.

Anonymous said...

So the party only went until 2:00AM? That's pretty darn early by Mexican standards.

The few Mexican parties that I've been invited to, or heard about, typically lasted until about 7:00 AM.

I personally stop having fun at about 2:00, but as a pinche gringo, my party stamina is pathetic.

Saludos desde el norte,

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where the weather has actually been ok. Given that it's early February.

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- We are a conservative lot on this coast. Usualy the town is closed down tight by 9. 2 is REAL late.