Mexico’s Next Generation of Cowboys preserve the country’s traditional culture

World Today

In this digital age dominated by technology – cultures around the world are finding it harder to pass down traditions shaped by simpler times. In Mexico, we see teenagers turning away from a lifestyle that includes sombreros and mariachi music.

But as CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock reports, the elders aren’t ready to give up.

The Charro, or Mexican Cowboy – the personification of traditional Mexican culture.

Hailing from rural Mexico, they gather to compete in rodeo competitions called Charreadas, to fling lassos, ride bulls, and show off their horsemanship.

“Wherever a Charro presents himself, he represents his country. Because to dress as a Charro, is to dress as Mexico,” said Fernando Jimenez, a judge at the rodeo event in Guadalajara, a city considered the home of rodeo culture.

“It’s a sport, but which entails a wide range of traditions, culture, history and customs,” he said. “They are all fundamental aspects of the event, and the reason for which Mexican Rodeo culture has been given UNESCO World Heritage status.”

Yet there is concern that the next generation is losing interest in traditional culture. That’s where Charro Academies step in, teaching kids from as young as six-years-old about the horsemanship their regional culture holds dear.

“I’ve wanted to be a Charro since I was little, but I have to train very hard,” said nine-year-old Adrian Martinez, a student at the academy who aspires to be a top rodeo performer.

The youth academies do their best to encourage young girls to take an interest as well, teaching them traditional Escaramuza side- saddle coordinated routines for national competitions.

Hugo de la Torre is a national champion charro, who now trains the country’s next generation.

“The sport is also about forming them as young adults”, he said. “It helps them to stay away from undesirable activities, and teaches them discipline, culture and a great deal of training.”

As cowboy culture is handed down to Mexico’s next generation, the hope is that the values that are part and parcel of Charrería are preserved as well.