75th anniversary of the Gaucho Games
Argentine Cowboys strut the streets for a week-long festival and celebration of their culture
Once a year in the historical town of San Antonio de Areco in Argentina, gauchos (a.k.a. cowboys) from all over the country gather to show off their equestrian skills in a week-long Festival. On the final day or Dia de la Tradicion, hundreds of gauchos in their best traditional dress parade on the cobblestoned streets through the center of town. And what a spectacle it is. Their traditional dress is accented with extravagant ornamental silver or leather ornamental belts, wide brimmed hats and colorful ponchos as they ride atop horses in ornate leather and silver bridles. The 2014 Festival is from November 1 to 9 and marks its 75th year.
Gauchos were nomad Argentine cowboys who led lonely lives on estancias in the 1800s. These large cattle ranches also acted as forts in the Pampas, the grasslands of the country, and the gauchos were their caretakers and fighters.
The Gaucho Games are a main attraction, the highlight of which is the Jineteada, Argentine bronco riding. The gaucho must maintain his seat on a fiery horse between six and 15 seconds. Corrida de sortija is the ring race where a horseman rides at breakneck speed to thread a needle through a wedding-ring size ring, hanging between two posts. Pato is the national sport of Argentina that combines elements of polo and basketball.
A gaucho and his horse are very close and it has been said that a gaucho without a horse “walks without feet.”
In addition to the competitions, visitors enjoy folk music, dances and exhibitions of local craftwork daily which include Argentina’s signature silver and leather materials. Asada con cuero, a huge barbeque, is cooked around a fire each day for the midday meal in the Parque Criollo.
If you go, stay at stylish La Bamba de Areco, one of the oldest estancias in Argentina, less than eight miles from the festival. The recently renovated hotel offers 11 air-conditioned rooms and suites, indoor and outdoor dining, library, bar billiards room, massage room and pool. The gaucho experience is also offered here and is one of the best reservoirs for the culture and history of Argentina.
Rates per room per night start at $700 from September 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015. For reservations and additional information, visit labambadeareco.com.
– Press Release – Text & Images Courtesy Montgomery Communications