Inaugural Mexican-style rodeo draws hundreds to Richmond
on November 12, 2014
An inaugural Mexican-style rodeo drew hundreds of spectators to Richmond Sunday to watch a dusty spectacle of raging bulls and courageous riders.
Jaripeo Expectacular was held in a packed lot off of Giant Road near Parchester Village, bringing together music, horseback riding, Mexicali cuisine and bull riding.
Over a dozen riders braved a pen of anxious bulls in an event that raged into the evening. Some riders were bucked off mere seconds after release from the enclosure, while others were carried to safety with the help of bullfighters and fellow spectators.
Jaripeo is a style of bull riding native to the Jalisco province of Mexico. The sport is a testament to traditional rancher culture in the province, but has since spread across the United States.
Unlike traditional American rodeo, Jaripeo is not based on a point system, but rather on survival; riders remain on until the bull either throws them off or gets too tired. Organizers brought the event to Richmond this year, a natural fit for a rough and tumble town with a large and growing Latino population.
The day opened up with a musical performance from Linda Ponce, who sang ranchera ballads with the accompaniment of a brass band. Horses then performed a choreographed dance to the music in the corral before the riders braved the bulls.
The bulls were fearsome and at times unpredictable. On several occasions, the brawny beasts battered the fence with their horns, forcing spectators to jump from the ring. One man suffered a gash to his forehead, but laughed off the wound almost immediately.
Despite the brush with danger — or perhaps because of it – spectators championed the event. Edwin Padilla, a longtime resident Richmond, couldn’t praise the Jaripeo enough.
Padilla, who is originally from Mexico, sees cowboy culture as a natural bridge between both nationalities. “We’re trying to maintain the rancheria culture,” he said. “It is a good way of living and spending a good time.”
Many of the riders paid tribute to their Mexican heritage by adopting the titles of Mexican provinces as nicknames. While “Michoacan” and hometown favorite “Sinaloa” fell quickly, “Gitano de Oaxaca”—literally meaning “The Gypsy of Oaxaca”—triumphed by retaining their mounts longer than any of the other riders.
Vendors fed fresh tacos and ceviche to the hungry fans during the Jaripeo. The organizers also offered attractions for children, including a mechanical bull and donkey rides. Organizers said they plan to set up a similar event next year. Padilla assured he would be one of the first to return.
“As long as the lord gives me life,” he said, “I will keep coming back.”
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