You don’t know what we are talking about? Also we had no clue when we spotted a poster at Maimara’s village square saying “Festival de folklore y doma”. There was a photo of a bucking horse on it so we decided to go for it, hoping to see a rodeo with real gauchos, something we never had a chance to see.
Actually we had not planned to stop in Maimara, but then took a quick look at the cemetery, which is picturesquely squashed on a small hill just on the edge of the pueblo. Heidi, naturally curious, had discovered the poster announcing the event, starting half an hour later.
Although we entered past the official opening time, nothing happened for another two hours. Gilles slowly grew impatient and hid behind a French book, while Heidi was stomping around taking photos of the spectators and listening into conversation to find out about was going on.
We had no exact idea we were going to watch, the activities listed on the poster made no sense to us. Now we know what “Crina Limpia” means. It is a gaucho trying to stay on a horse without a saddle, only holding on to a rope tied around the horse’s neck pushing his long spurs into the horse’s belly. The gaucho has to stay on the bucking horse for 13 seconds, otherwise he is disqualified. Some of the riders were immediately thrown off the horse, while others stayed on the kicking horse for the required time.
Referees are judging those who were able to stay the allotted time, evaluating how wild the horse behaved and how well the gaucho managed it. The prize money paid at such tournaments is rather small, bigger tournaments pay up to 12.000 pesos.
For us, the audience was equally interesting as the show. It was only locals, many Indigenous who reminded us very much of the people of Bolivia and Peru. Some of spectators dressed in a European / American style clothes, but a significant part were dressed in a Gaucho style, men, women or even children.
After the first part of the show, a band started playing with people dancing, waiting for the second “Categoria” of the event, the “Grupo”. Unfortunately we could not stay any longer to watch the many other competitions: because it was getting really late, we had no place to stay yet and on top of that, the next village to find an accommodation was Humahuaca, about 70 kilometres away.