Old Mexico lives on

Charreada has been called the National Sport of Mexico. A form of stylized rodeo or riding exhibition, including roping and equestrian performances, it’s based on the heritage of charros, or gentlemen ranchers.

“Charreada is basically thought of as a living art form,” says photographer Chad Case, who traveled from his home in Boise, Idaho, to spend a week last fall in Guadalajara and attend events and practices and visit the homes of performers. Though practical by nature, the movements of a charreada are highly choreographed and executed with flair.

“The charreada grounds were small and very simple but clean and decorated with colorful banners and flags,” says Case about the party atmosphere.

“The moment we walked in, the organizers placed clay-fired shot glasses on strings around our necks and kept them filled with tequila,” he laughs. A mariachi band, of course, serenaded the cheering crowds.

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