You could feel the excited buzz in the air. The large crowd and the line of cars parking along the road meant it was Rodeo time. As I approached the main entrance, I noticed that the man who sold the tickets (at just $2.00 each) was wearing a pair of Cowboy boots that could kill a person. Here, everybody had their best Cowboy and Cowgirl duds on!
Boots that can kill you
The Alfaros—a family hailing from the municipality of Villa El Carmen—had a great idea: to build a new Rodeo and Training Facility in Santa Rita, right along the road to Pochomil, the beaches, and Gran Pacifica Resort. The owner of the new Facility, Evert Orozco Alfaro, made a video to announce Grand Opening.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd of rodeo fans came out!
A Whole Town Coming to Celebrate
Villa el Carmen is in the country, with many working animals, and people around here take their livelihood seriously. Thus, rodeo is very important here and it’s a time-honored tradition, just as in many parts of the world. Provide an arena, and people are going to turn out.
To keep the action going, there’s a music band with drums as horns blare out above the crowd. There’s no American “pop Western” music here, and the feel and ambiance are gleeful. In a few moments, they’re having a contest for the kids to see who can dance their pants off to win a prize.
I still remember my first Rodeo. It was in Salinas, California, where I was invited by my best friend, Linda, who had a ranch, to try and catch a greased pig. Had I caught it, how would I have gotten it home? They do the same thing here at Villa El Carmen, but they let the pig loose on the streets of the town. Soon after, it is time for lunch.
For food, I had a nice plate of meat, salad, and plantain chips at just $2.25. Also, they were serving Coke, lots of beer, cotton candy, popcorn,and other treats.
Music stand with cotton candy on sale
A fully decked-out horse
Now, let’s get to the best part—the rodeo itself. The arena at the facility is made of guanacaste hardwood planks for the seating. Also, it has high enough fencing so that, when the bulls and horses crash into it, people know when to get out of the way!
Large guancaste tree hardwood seating and railings
Whenever men ride a lovely mule or a horse to wrangle a bull, it seems that there’s always somebody in the ring dancing while everybody laughs. Of course, it’s all laughter until someone tells him that he must get out of the way, unless he wants to get injured. The ranchers let a bull loose out of the gate, and they use a red and black blanket to catch its attention, often charging at them right after. Moreover, people from the crowd are encouraged by the announcer to get on a bull to attempt an 8-seconds challenge, with no protective gear! Quite astonishing isn’t it?
A Mule in the ring
Like rodeo everywhere, there are injuries. Sometimes they involve the animals, and other times people. For instance, I met my friend Juan watching the rodeo at Villa El Carmen. When he was 15 years old, he had an accident with a bull, which left him a paraplegic; yet he still loves to go to see the shows. For these Nicaraguan Rodeos in small towns across the country, there are not so many rules to observe as it happens in American Professional Rodeo.
It is quite different, but people look out for each other. However, things are changing nowadays with the use of Facebook videos. Rodeo companies already make videos with young men wearing more protective gear, accompanied by songs from country singer George Strait.
Though, I like the old timers best.
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