Charreada: Mexican Rodeo in Texas is now available as a free
e-book at the UNT Digital Library.
Beautifully illustrated with 75 duotone images.
El Charro, or man on horseback, has represented the spirit of
independent Mexico since he played an important role in the 1821
revolution. He is the Mexican version of the American cowboy, only much
older, arising from the ranch culture first brought to Mexico by the
Spanish. The Charreada is his rodeo, his opportunity to show off both
his skills with rope and horse and his decorative, elegant costume. It
is at the center of Mexican heritage and self-image, a source of
mythology and genuine heroes that has been brought to Texas by
immigrants. And since 1989, it has included women, charras, who
participate in elaborate and difficult riding formations.
San Antonio photographer Al Rendon has taken this ideal subject for the
camera and created a collection of splendid sepia photographs reproduced
in duotone. The photos juxtapose the grit of the arena with the poise
and polish of the charros, charras, and their horses. The essays, by
Julia Hambric, Bryan Woolley, and F. E. Abernethy, describe the history
of the charreada and its roots in Mexican culture. Hambric’s essay also
details the costumes and events prescribed by tradition and the
Federacion Nacional de Charro. Together, this is a unique examination of
an important part of Mexico’s heritage.
“Al Rendon… captures the pageantry of the charreada in grand,
voluptuous still lifes—particularly… the ‘Escaramuza Charra,’ the
female form of the charreada. Shot with a wide lens, the synchronized
riding drills are painterly, ethereal portraits of the charras.”
—Shermakaye Bass, Austin-American Statesman
“The unique character of Mexican-style rodeo is deftly explained and
well illustrated in this work.” —Dallas Morning News
“Unlike other rodeos, the events focus on style rather than speed…
There are no barrel races or bronco riding, but plenty of thrills keep
the spectators on the edge of their seats with charros leaping onto
the backs of charging mares and tailing the bulls.” —Cowboys &