Some events come and go, and some stick out more than others. The Charreada is the kind of event that is so unique and visually stunning, I literally mark it on my calendar and clear my schedule months in advance. Local photographers both past and present frequented the San Antonio Charro Ranch in the Southside such as the late Rick Hunter, Daren Abate, and others. I first discovered the Charreada at this year’s Fiesta “A Day in Old Mexico” event. I showed up late not sure what to expect and had about 45 minutes to get enough to create a photo gallery. What I walked into was beauty and culture laid before my eyes in an overwhelming form.
This time I came with a little more preparation along with one of the Rivard Report’s very talented freelance photojournalists, Rachel Chaney. We arrived anticipating photographs of charros and escaramuzas getting ready for their upcoming performances. The colors, the sights, and the sounds all play a crucial role in the experience of the Charreada, it’s truly unbelievable, I had to remember to keep my jaw from dropping since dirt would most likely fill my mouth.
The occasion for this Charreada was not the usual Fiesta or Mexican Independence celebration, but rather a filming of a Travel Channel show highlighting the authentic performance. Being a journalist with a camera I am gifted the pleasure of obtaining access to places most would never have a chance to see, the Charreada is no different and in fact, maybe a form of right of passage for local photographers. The difference here is the Association de Charros welcome you as if you are their own, they let me get as close as I was willing to risk my personal safety. It’s comforting to know that I will be photographing this event for the rest of my life, whether I live in San Antonio or not, I’ll be making the trip.
Dia de La Independencia Charreada is the next event that will be hosted in September. I’ll be the guy taking photographs covered in dust and grinning from ear to ear. Please enjoy the photo gallery Rachel and I created below.
*Featured/top Image: A charro practices before the Charreada begins. Photo by Scott Ball.