Known as the Championship of Chile, or simply El Chileno, the country’s National Rodeo Championship has been an annual sporting event since 1948. It moved through the years from city to city until, in 1975, it settled in Rancagua, one of the primary cities of Chile’s central valley region.
Chile’s national sport, the Chilean Rodeo involves two huasos, or cowboys, mounted on stallions in a large dirt ring where they chase a young cow, attempting to trap it using the bodies of their horses.
El Chileno is, as its title suggests, the foremost exemplar of this traditional sport anywhere in Chile.
The 2011 edition of the event, which takes place on Friday, April 1, will be the 63rd, and for the first time has received official endorsement and support from government organizations. The Ministry of Agriculture, the National Copper Corporation (Codelco), the Coporation for the Development of Production (Corfo), and the Chilean National Tourism Service (Sernatur) are all throwing official support behind the event.
The Director of the National Rodeo Federation, Oscar Lería, said “we’re very pleased with this alliance, as our sport is much more than just a sport, it is our Chilean culture and traditions.”
Chilean rodeos can also be seen throughout the country during the Fiestas Patrias in September, as well as at the rings used intermittently throughout the year in many cities and towns throughout the central valley.