Rodeo de Olmué
Photos by Lois Porter

We attended the annual rodeo in Olmué last weekend, January 28-30. The participants are huasos – Chilean cowboys – with bright colored ponchos, broad-brimmed hats, carved wooden stirrups and big spurs. The rodeo horses – corraleros – are specially bred and trained, beautiful animals. The only event is a complex task undertaken by pairs of huasos. They must drive a novillo (young steer) around the edge of the round arena, and pin it up against a padded section of the wall. The horsemanship is impressive to behold, as one rider presses close to the rear of the steer while the other moves very fast sideways, with the horse’s chest pinning the steer to the wall. At the crucial instant, they must bring the steer to a sudden stop against the wall. Points are awarded for all aspects of the performance. Winners in local competitions, such as Olmué, proceed to the national championship in Rancagua in March or April.

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