Fort Worth

Fort Worth Stockyards Hosts Inaugural Vaquero Gathering

The 3-day event highlights the contributions and pays homage to Mexican charreria traditions

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The inaugural Vaquero Gathering, hosted by the American Paint Horse Association, is set to make history in the Fort Worth Stockyards this weekend.

The Oct. 8-10 takeover of the Stockyards highlights the contributions and pays homage to Mexican charreria traditions.

"We are proud to share our national treasure, precious history and culture with the international visitors of the Stockyards. The APHA has important relationships and a strong presence in Mexico; and we are proud that Mexican Charreria will be celebrated at this historic venue," said Francisco de la Torre, Cónsul of México, in a news release.

"One of the biggest things we lack is to have our Hispanic heritage," said Jimmy Ayala, a San Antonio man whose story about success in the arena will be part of the three-day event.

"It's called Honoring Both Worlds, the American circuit and the charreria curcuit," he said.

Ayala's daughters Jackie and Emely perform and compete in the equestrian event of escaramuza, the side saddle-riding queens of the charreria. He's the trainer for Hacienda Santiago.

"The easiest way to explain escamuraza is synchronized swimming but on a horse. It's like a ballet or horses going through each other, spinning. Everything is choreographed," Jimmy Ayala explained.

"It's hard. I'm gonna tell you that," said Jackie Ayala, 19. "Yes, you have to focus on your horse but you have to be looking around for other girls. You have to make sure you're spacing is perfect. You have to make sure you cross at the time needed because if one little thing is messed up, you hit."

Escaramuza San Antonio was perfect in its championship-winning performance at the Texas Invitational Escaramuza which debuted at the 2020 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

The win brought a new title and new attention.

"Because of Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo, they're paving the way for us in the American circuit to continue to make this bigger and show this is where it all comes from. They're not leaving us out," Jimmy Ayala said.

Jackie Ayala is showing she is ready for the American circuit. She decided to take her skills to a new level and this past summer claimed a world champion title in the category of reining at the American Paint Horse Association's World Show in Fort Worth.

"Those are proud moments; those are proud dad moments," smiled Jimmy.

More proud moments will come at this weekend's Vaquero Gathering. The Ayalas and host American Paint Horse Association hope to showcase the connection between cultures, how one style of rodeo influences the other and the value they bring.

"This inaugural event showcases the important role that early native and Mexican vaqueros played in the early trail drives that started right here in the Stockyards. The APHA has international partnerships in Mexico, Brazil and Latin America that will have an opportunity to learn of our local history and fully recognize the constant presence of Charros and Escaramuzas that keep the sport growing across the US and right here in Fort Worth this October," said
APHA's Executive Director Billy Smith.

Events will include horsemanship clinics, three horse show performances in
the Cowtown Coliseum and a Vaquero (Mexican) Food Truck Competition


October 8: Friday's events begin at 2 p.m. with the first of three daily performances that tell the story of the early days of the Mexican vaqueros, charros and history of the Escaramuza during the Mexican revolution.

October 9: Saturday's performance at 2 p.m. will highlight the transfer of Mexican charro skills to ranch vaqueros and the celebrated horse traditions of that period.

October 10: Sunday's performance will be at noon and will be historical compilation of the first two time periods as a celebration of the present-day Vaquero and Charro. Plus on Sunday, Ascencion Banuelos hosts a traditional horsemanship clinic tying the Charro skills to modern day competition.

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