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Welcome to Rodeo Cuba
"Rodeo" is the Spanish word for "roundup". Rodeo is greatly increasing in popularity as a spectator sport throughout Cuba. Lenin Park, South of Havana, hosts rodeos throughout the year. The arena was built by Celia Sanchez, confidant of Fidel Castro. A little sign at the arena states: "Pure Cuban Rodeo".
Horses in Cuba were introduced by the Spanish. Wild horses are "broke" (made obedient and capable of riding) by vaqueros (cowboys). Vaqueros "ride out" (stay on the horses' backs) until the horse stop bucking.
Now and then, a horse comes along that "can't be broke". So, the challenge among "vaqueros" is "who can ride him the longest?" Along with bareback bronc riding, other events include: calf roping, steer wrestling (bull dogging), bull riding, team roping and saddle bronc riding. Calf roping, steer wrestling, and barrel racing are timed events.
Cuba does not have "bucking bronc" or bareback riding events. However, a humorous event, uniquely Cuban, is "wild cow milking".
Clowns are a part of rodeo in Cuba as they are in the USA. Clowns protect the "vaqueros" from possible injury by distracting dangerous bulls from the fallen "vaqueros" or helping riders get out of a saddle if snared.
Rodeo has only been an amateur sport in Cuba since the 1950s whereas in the USA, rodeo is over 100 years old and largely controlled by professional associations. As Cuba opens to travel and trade, Rodeo Cuba will update this website for the worldwide rodeo community.
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