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An Open Gate into a Mapuche Rodeo Show

   
 Estimated reading time: 2 min. Texts Mónica Pons   Photos Eduardo Epifanio
Rodeo at the Loom Festival in Caviahue

Rodeo shows vary according to region. Boots, apparel and hat are typical of each community. The same thing happens with the saddles girths and surcingles.

“Animals loose in the plain will belong to the man who ropes them”, the payador said while hosting the great rodeo festival at the mangrullo
The judge gave the order and two men holding a rope got ready to wait for the colt inside the arena. Behind the gate, the animal was standing on its rear legs refusing to go out.

The ropers worked with priorities according to the way the colt behaved when he was released. If they succeeded, a third man would ride the animal still lying on the ground without a saddle. This man would remain on the back of the horse just for a few seconds, but the generous applause really paid off.

That fight man/horse was repeated at each of the skills exhibited that late summer afternoon at the Loom Festival, in the spot called Cajón Chico in the Millaín Currical community. An excellent stable of colts of various kinds of hair made riders show off.

The events followed one another. Most participants were very young boys who risked everything during those few seconds on the horse. Twelve seconds separated glory from the most embarrassing fall.

Leaning against one of the wire fence posts that surrounded the rodeo arena, we just wished not to miss a thing at that celebration. We had to have our ears, our eyes and our heart alert to all the sensations emerging at every minute.
Rodeo at the Loom Festival in Caviahue
Not all the proposals involved the colts. Suddenly, a trailer carrying twenty lambs entered the field. In turn, the same number of children between 3 and 8 years old got ready to sit astride on the lambs to imitate their elders. In spite of some falls without major consequences, it was a gracious and touching moment.

The main course was represented by the bareback bronc riding events. Many participants endured the test on the back of the horse and there was practically no interval between one rider and the next.

Even though his eyes had been covered, the animal caracoled uneasily because it was being tied against its will. In the meantime, the rider was getting ready. The foremen, judges and the pick-up men were also ready to act.
Rodeo at the Loom Festival in Caviahue
Great expectation arose when the rider, already settled on the colt still tied to the post, would lean backwards and stretch his legs up forwards. This would let him resist the first shake the colt would give when released.

In turn, the payadores would warm up their guitars and improvise their stanzas. Encouragement and imagination at the service of this event.

A chamamé was playing in the background and the smoke from the grills was invading the stalls, where the audience was getting more and more crowded. The spokesman introduced a former lonco of the community. Very thrilled and in his own tongue, don Celedonio thanked the strength the young had given to the Mapuche Loom Festival.
Rodeo at the Loom Festival in Caviahue
The sun was setting when we left the venue in our car. Others left on horseback. The gates of the festival started to close and we felt the pleasure of having enjoyed two days of pure rural life in Mapuche territory.
Useful Data
How to get here
Cajón Chico lies on Provincial Route 26, ten kilometers away from the District of Caviahue, towards Loncopué.
 
Rates
An admission ticket is charged.

 
Recommendations
Saturday night popular dance.
There is a canteen.
 
 
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The Mapuche Loom Festival
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