Monday, December 28, 2009

Week 31, Project 365 - Part 1

We had so many photos and video clips from the Festival de Destreza Gaucha last Sunday that I decided to devote a whole Project 365 post just to it. Hence we have Week 31, Part 1 (I don't think Sara, our Project 365 hostess, will mind).

This festival was similar to a western rodeo, with gauchos (cowboys) competing in barrel racing, bronco busting and other traditional events. Plus one I'd never seen before.

At the beginning of the festival there was a parade of all the gauchos on their horses, some carrying banners and flags. Even the gauchos-in-training were on hand. Although the traditional gaucho wears a rimmed hat, these berets are also perfectly acceptable and quite popular. The barrel racing was quite intense and you could almost sense the crowd holding their breath until the horses finished the course. The funniest event of the day was Musical Chairs with horses. I knew you wouldn't believe me unless I included a video clip :-)
video
Time for a little bronco busting! Here's a shot of a few men getting ready. Off came the traditional boots with heels, and on went multiple layers of socks and finally a "sock" of leather that was securely lashed down with what looked like leather cords. Also double layers of pants and either a long piece of fabric wrapped tightly around the rib cage under their shirt or an apparatus that looked like a medical sling used after rotator cuff surgery. Plus special gloves that I'm guessing helped them hang onto the reins tightly. Obviously a lot of thought and care goes into choosing appropriate attire for this event. Here you see why.
video
A little scary! I was very glad there were two fences between :-) I don't think that rider received a very high grade, do you? But the next one sure did! And did you notice how carefully each gaucho gets ready, hands and feet just so, all the equipment on the horse just so. [Note: if a rider manages to stay on for 10 seconds, other gauchos move in and remove the bronco buster before he gets tossed.]
video
We enjoyed front row seats at the fence in chairs we'd taken along and, of course, passed around the mate (traditional Argentine hot tea). "Here, would you like some?" "Of course! Thank you." At lunch time there was a break so folks could grab a bite, maybe do a little folk dancing to the live band on a nearby stage, or just sit around and talk like we did. It was a fabulous day! The weather was perfect and the entertainment most enjoyable.

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to come back later for Part 2 with "regular" photos from the week.

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