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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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The Charro
Program #

Gloria Contreras
Eli Barrón
Nov 2, 1977

The Charro

Eli Barron, founding president of the Austin Charro Association, discusses the history of Charro organizations and describes the charreada. Barrón explains that the Charro Association originated in Mexico City in 1920s, when Mexican businessmen decided the charro traditions need to be maintained. Since then the organization has spread throughout Mexico, the United States and even Spain.

Charros are traditional Mexican horsemen who compete in Charreadas, a type of rodeo. In the charraeada, amateur horsemen compete in nine events, which test the charros skills at commanding, roping or riding horses or bulls. Charros win points for both skill, time and dress. For example, in Piales en Lienzo, he has to rope the hind legs of a running horse without throwing it. In the last and most dangerous event, he has to jump from his own horse onto the bareback of an unbroken horse running at full speed.

Women also participate in charreadas as escaramuza charras. These women, often the daughters of wives of the charros, perform as part of a drill team or in the cala de caballo event, where they must test and train a random horse. In both events they must ride side-saddle. The charreadas also feature mariachi music and end with the Jarabe Tapatío, or Mexican Hat Dance. Eli Barron points out that, despite the dependence of cowboys on the original vaquero culture in Texas, a charro is not a cowboy and a cowboy is not a charro. They are distinct sporting traditions.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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