Describe your traditional skill/craft/art, when and why it is done, and your history with it:
Charrería is a skill and art form that involves horsemanship, cattle work and sophisticated use of the rope that dates back to the 1500s during the Spanish colonization when horses and cattle were introduced to the Americas. The sport has been known as the national sport of Mexico since 1933. Charrería is showcased at carnivals, festivals, public and private events in big and small towns across Mexico where people gather to witness and practice this art form. I grew up unofficially practicing Charrería as part of our daily lives farming to make a living. When I came to the United States, I looked for an instructor to improve my roping skills and I have been performing for the last 10 years or so.
How and from whom was the tradition learned?
I learned the basic skills of Charrería from my father and grandfather. They were both talented working with horses, cattle and using the rope. They taught me how to ride horses, how to work with cattle and my early steps using the rope not so much as an art form, but more as a way of life. Our farming activities involved riding horses as means of transportation, cattle work as means of obtaining milk for food and the use of the rope came as a result of our need to rope the horses and cattle in our daily activities.
How, when, why did you come to Oregon?
I started visiting Oregon in early 2007 when I met my wife who is from Corvallis. Having grown up in a small village in Mexico, both my wife and I agreed that we wanted to start a family in a small town so our children could experience nature and the outdoors as much as possible. For that reason, Oregon was the natural place we both thought of when we were ready to start our family. In late 2010, we settled in Springfield and it has been a real joy to showcase Charrería with this great community we call home.
Any other biographical information (awards, honors, presentations, etc.):
In November 2012 and in June 2013, I was awarded the Champion title for Heeling in the Team Roping event by the Oregon Charro Association. Prior to that, I have received several honors, awards and acknowledgments by government and school staff for my participation at community and school events, most in California and some in the state of Oregon. I have some presentations scheduled, but welcome a call or an e-mail for more details on those.