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Cubano Rodeo

Each March Havana’s Rancho Boyeros fairgrounds hosts the week long FIAGROP International Agricultural Fair and Rodeo. Like many things in Cuba the scene was like stepping back in time, this time though we found ourselves in the Cuban equivalent of a good old fashioned mid-western state fair and rodeo. Located about 20 kilometers from Old Havana the Rancho Boyeros Fairgrounds with it’s outdoor rodeo and grandstands is a sprawling complex filled with hundreds of cattle, horse and pig stalls. Scattered about were food vendors as well as people selling hats, saddles, ropes and other equestrian equipment. Throughout were families leading their balloon carrying kids often stopping to look at the birds, mice, gerbils, hamsters, chicks, rabbits and other small creatures available for sale. As with all things Cuban there was of course plenty of beer and rum vendors and several live music venues.
The highlight of course is the International Rodeo and horse riding competitions. Reminiscent of simpler times in the past we were surprised at the unencumbered access we had to nearly all areas of the rodeo as we wandered thru the animal stalls and weaved our way between the cowboys on horseback as they corralled the calves, steers and bulls into the chutes. The afternoon rodeo events began with a ceremonial flag carrying parade, followed by the National Anthem. Next up was some good old barrel racing followed by a pair of young brothers doing some crazy trick horseback riding. In addition there were team roping, tie down roping, steer wrestling and good old fashion bull riding complete with rodeo clowns. The wildest event though was the “steer-tailing” or coleadero where two cowboys on horseback would chase a steer out of the chute into the arena. The goal was for one of them to grab the steer’s tail as he hung sideways off the saddle yanking the tail hard enough to cause the steer to tumble, slamming onto the ground. I suspect the folks at PETA wouldn’t like this one.
All in all what was especially nice was how organized and efficient the whole rodeo was with one event starting almost immediately after the other. Noticeably absent were the commercials between events and the hundreds of advertising signs we see littering every wall of a US sporting arenas.

Checkout our Rodeo blog at: http://billklipp.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/a-gringo-s-peek-into-a-cubano-rodeo

"Cuba Beyond the Bars" a new Cuban photo book by Bill Klipp, Linda Klipp & "Dink" Bruce: http://www.cubaphotos.net/BeyondBars


See our new "Classic Cuba" photo slide show: http://www.wkimages.net/ClassicCuba

For purchase or for usage rights contact: Bill Klipp, billklipp@wkimages.net
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