By Joe Contreras, Photos by Rose Pineda & Ruby Gonzalez for Latin Life Denver Media
There was a little bit of everything at this year’s National Western Stock Show’s 24th Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza. Several thousand people turned out for on a pleasant January 7th night in Denver, Colorado to partake in the annual spectacle. in fact 50,577 people (a new record) attended this second day of activities breaking last year’s opening weekend record attendance.
The audience was treated to a night filled with cultural pageantry. The Mexican Rodeo featured Mexican style bull riding, bareback riding, trick roping along with the daring Paso de la Muerte or “Death Jump.” all choreographed by Jerry Diaz, a fourth-generation champion charro. The extravaganza also featured a bull fighting exhibition. Colorado’s own Westerners along with Mariachis Sol de mi Tierra and Mexican dancers rounded the entertainment.
Joining Diaz was Charros El Centenario led by Ricardo Madera along with the female sidesattle pattern riders, Escaramuza Charra Flor de Aquilena and Escaramuza descendencia Charra all from Denver. Brian Maestas of the Charros El Centenario told Latin Life Denver that all the time and work put into this production is done from the heart. ” We do it out of pure dedication to the sport and to carry on our traditions”.
Charro Gerardo ‘Jerry’ Diaz is a fourth generation charro, continuing the traditions that originated with his great grandfather over 150 years ago. Jerry is recognized around the world for his expertise in horsemanship and dedication to the Charro traditions. He performed riding and trick lasso routines alongside his wife, Staci, and 14-year-old son, Nicolas.
The Diazes value the educational component of what they do, keeping alive Mexican horsemanship traditions that have been passed down through five generations of the family. They perform dozens of shows each year, but the National Western is among their biggest. He is a director and lifetime member of the National Western Stock Show which features his productions, The Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza and the Evening of Dancing Horses. In 2004 Jerry Diaz was inducted to the Texas Trail of Fame.
“I think that if a person has a passion for anything they do, they should conserve it,” Jerry Diaz said. “The lord blessed me to go out there and spread this tradition.”
The Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza is done for 2018, but the 112th National Western Stock Show continues through Jan. 21. For a schedule of events, visit nationalwestern.com.
The Diaz family lives in New Braunfels, Texas, where they operate Three Mile Creek Ranch, a 50-acre horse operation. They host several presentations and clinics throughout the year for both private and public groups at their Indoor Arena.
Photos by Rose Pineda & Ruby Gonzalez for Latin Life Denver Media