National Western Stock Show

Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza

by Dave Gibson

Colorado’s Front Range has been home to the National Western Stock Show for the last 112 years, where seldom is heard as discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day. Held in Denver every January, it draws almost 700,000 people and boasts one of the biggest indoor rodeos in the country.

One of the most popular events at the NWSS is the Mexican Rodeo. A blend of Mexican charro (cowboy) traditions and Western rodeo, both the American and Mexican anthem is performed at the beginning of the show. Bareback riding and bull riding are always popular as is the exciting “Paso de la Muerte” (passing of death) where a charro traveling at full speed amidst a herd of horses transfers himself from one to another. The Folkloric Dancers and a mariachi band entertained the crowd in a happening as much about pageantry as competition. Colorfully adorned Escaramuza Charra Flor de Aguilena sidesaddle riders dazzled the audience with their interweaving maneuvers. Dancing horses, acrobatic riding, mutton bustin,’ and rope tricks led up to the highly anticipated bullfight.

Two matadors took their positions at the sides of the ring while the toro (bull) rattled his horns against the holding chute. Released and in a surly mood, he raced to the center of the arena and surveyed the vicinity for his target. A bullfighter slowly approached the toro one cautious step at a time, gaining the bull’s attention. Jiggling his cape or muleta in front of the muscular midnight black specimen with pearly horns, the bull gave out a snort, pawed its hoof in the dirt, lowered his head and charged! Attracted to the motion of the cape and not the person, the matador gracefully sidestepped the beast dragging the red muleta over its back. Olé! The belligerent bovine instantly swung around for another swipe at the bullfighter only to come up with cape and air. Olé! After some time, the bull never did gore the matador who didn’t harm the bull that lived to fight another day.

The National Western Stock Show runs from January 6th through January 21st. For tickets and information go to: or call 303-296-6977.

Dave Gibson has been a contributor at the Weekly Register-Call for over a dozen years. To view past articles and pictures go to:

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