Charro Raymond poses for a photo with his horse while it gets a drink. Photo by Scott Ball.
Charro Raymond poses for a photo with his horse while it gets a drink. Photo by Scott Ball.

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.

Carlos, a 4 year old son of a Charro looks back after peering through the fence into the Charreada ring. Photo by Scott Ball.
Carlos, a 4 year old son of a Charro looks back after peering through the fence into the Charreada ring. Photo by Scott Ball.
A boy horses around. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A boy horses around. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Charro Carlos Franco practices with his lasso before the Charreada begins. Photo by Scott Ball.
Charro Carlos Franco practices with his lasso before the Charreada begins. Photo by Scott Ball.
A young boy gets carted off. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A young boy gets carted off. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Two friends tease each other. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Two friends tease each other. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Carlos Franco practices his lasso technique. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Carlos Franco practices his lasso technique. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A horse stands outside a stable. Photo by Scott Ball.
A horse stands outside a stable. Photo by Scott Ball.
Brothers, Cohan 7 and Jacob 10, pass the time with a video game and a cold drink. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Brothers Cohan, 7, and Jacob, 10, pass the time with a video game and a cold drink. Photo by Rachel Chaney. Credit: Rachel Chaney for the San Antonio Report
Nina, an escaramuza grabs some of her equipment from a pickup truck. Photo by Scott Ball.
Nina, an escaramuza grabs some of her equipment from a pickup truck. Photo by Scott Ball.
Malecio Flores talks on his cell phone as his horse waits behind him. Photo by Scott Ball.
Charro Malecio Flores talks on his cell phone as his horse waits behind him. Photo by Scott Ball.
Javier steadies his daughter's hat. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Javier steadies his daughter’s hat. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Escaramuza, Adrianna 7 years old stands on the side of a horse trailer. Photo by Scott Ball.
Escaramuza, Adrianna 7 years old stands on the side of a horse trailer. Photo by Scott Ball.
Manuel Barrientos gets his picture taken. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Manuel Barrientos poses for a photo. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A charro practices before the Charreada begins. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro practices before the Charreada begins. Photo by Scott Ball.
Two escaramuzas run their horses along the perimeter of the arena. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Two escaramuzas run their horses along the perimeter of the arena. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A young escaramuza parades her horse around the arena. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A young escaramuza parades her horse around the arena. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Escaramuzas exit near the stables. Photo by Scott Ball.
Escaramuzas exit near the stables. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro walks through the trampled dirt. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro walks through the trampled dirt. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro brings his horse to an abrupt halt with a controlled slide. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A charro brings his horse to an abrupt halt with a controlled slide. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Three charros have a meeting on horseback. Photo by Scott Ball.
Three charros have a meeting on horseback. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro spins his horse in circles as fans and other charros watch from a distance. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro spins his horse in circles as fans and other charros watch from a distance. Photo by Scott Ball.
A focused charro on a wide-eyed horse pursues a bull. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A focused charro on a wide-eyed horse pursues a bull. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Charro Raymond poses for a photo with his horse while it gets a drink. Photo by Scott Ball.
Charro Raymond poses for a photo with his horse while it gets a drink. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro rides along side of a bull during the Colas en el Lienzo event. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro rides along side of a bull during the Colas en el Lienzo event. Photo by Scott Ball.
A horse gallops during the piales en lienzo event. Photo by Scott Ball.
A horse gallops during the Piales en Lienzo event. Photo by Scott Ball.
A group of Charros wait to enter the arena. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A group of Charros wait to enter the arena. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A young charro watches the event from the gate. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A young charro watches the event from the gate. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A young charro boy sits on top of his horse. Photo by Scott Ball.
A young charro boy sits on top of his horse. Photo by Scott Ball.
Edmundo, Gabriel, and Carlos request a portrait. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Edmundo, Gabriel, and Carlos request a portrait. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Charros maneuver their horses as dust fills the area. Photo by Scott Ball.
Charros maneuver their horses as dust fills the area. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro rides his horse during the Colas en el Lienzo event. Photo by Scott Ball.
A charro rides his horse during the Colas en el Lienzo event. Photo by Scott Ball.
A boy climbs a gate. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A boy climbs a gate. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Elias 7, practices rope tricks on top of his horse. Photo by Scott Ball.
Elias, age 7, practices rope tricks on top of his horse. Photo by Scott Ball.
Escaramuzas ride wearing beautiful dresses that drape over the body of the horse. Photo by Scott Ball.
Escaramuzas ride wearing beautiful dresses that drape over the body of the horse. Photo by Scott Ball.
Charos pass each other while riding to and from the ring. Photo by Scott Ball.
Charos pass each other while riding to and from the ring. Photo by Scott Ball.
A group of horses parade into the arena. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A group of horses parade into the arena. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
Escaramuzas ride circles around the ring. Photo by Scott Ball.
Escaramuzas ride circles around the ring. Photo by Scott Ball.
Escaramuzas ride pass an opening in the ring. Photo by Scott Ball.
Escaramuzas ride pass an opening in the ring. Photo by Scott Ball.
A man exits the stadium. Photo by Rachel Chaney.
A man exits the stadium. Photo by Rachel Chaney.

*Featured/top Image: A charro practices before the Charreada begins.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Scott Ball

Scott Ball is San Antonio Report's photo editor and grew up in San Antonio.