When the Spanish explorers arrived on the North American continent, they brought horses, along with their families, and the heritage of a celebration known as La Charreada was born. The Fiesta Charra event, a colorful exhibition of dance, music and horseback riding, at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™, paid homage to this traditional celebration on Go Tejano Day, Sunday, March 11.
“Many people had ranches,” Phyllis Gonzales explained as horses danced into the arena. Gonzales, an organizer of the Fiesta Charra performance, has been involved in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with her husband David ever since they met on a trail ride 40 years ago.
“Some ranches were very big in Texas, and the rancheros would have an afternoon of showing off,” she continued, explaining how ranchers would display their goods by hosting small fiestas, while displaying the horsemanship of the caballeros, or horse riders, and of course, the horses themselves.
Fiesta Charra is a family-oriented event, with children of all ages displaying elaborate reigning and roping skills. The women were perhaps the most elaborate and elegant performers, wearing sequined skirts and broad-brimmed hats perched sidesaddle above beautiful horses.
The Go Tejano Committee organizes the Fiesta Charra event each year. Generations of families, spectacular horses, and community were woven throughout the NRG Center Main Arena on Sunday night at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.