I’m a little behind, but this post has been on my mind for about a week now. On Sunday (November 7), I had the opportunity to go with some people to another town about 2 hours away from Buenos Aires to a traditional gaucho festival. By the end of the day, I felt incredibly dirty from all the sand and heat, but overwhelmingly educated at the same time. Alright…here we go.
So we arrived at San Antonio de Areco early in the day and got off at the smallest bus platform you’ve ever seen. The town was so tiny…cobblestone and dirt everywhere and family-owned stores scattered all over a residential area. We followed the crowd and ended up at a park where there was a marching band and a HUGE gathering. Listened to the Argentine National Anthem for the first time, and then began the parade. This festival was literally a gathering of all the gaucho families in Argentina…along with their children, extended family, and all their top horses. I would estimate around 500 gauchos and over 1,000 horses. If you didn’t know, gauchos are essentially Argentine cowboys. These guys were legit. The style was so different from American cowboys, and their horses were all so…beautiful.
So we watched this parade and then did some shopping. Matt Hibbs got all gaucho’d up and I got myself some legit suede TOMS-style shoes. (It may be good for all you amuricans to know that TOMS totally ripped off on gaucho shoes.) Then we headed to the competition portion of the festival, got some beer and choripanes (chorizo sandwiches), and watched some Argentine rodeo.
One part of the rodeo was just a huge stampede. Single gauchos had a herd of horses following them and a bunch of them just rode around the huge ring. At first we thought they were doing some kinda Mario Kart competition where they had to try to steal horses from other gauchos and the one with the most won. It ended up just being a show. I’ll let Cameron give his commentary.
Then they had another competition that was pretty much a rodeo. They tied horses to tall wooden posts and blindfolded them. Then a gaucho would jump on the horse, they would release it, and the gaucho would piss off the horse as much as possible so that it would want to buck him off. It was cool…especially since I’m not a Texan and haven’t experienced a rodeo before. Thank God for that.
In the end, I’m so glad I got to see this other side of Argentina. It’s like the difference between New York City and Missouri. Or…P. Diddy and Chuck Norris. And after all this, I definitely wouldn’t mind being a sexy gaucho for a few months. Maybe for Halloween next year.