mexican man in a blue shirt performing charreria rope works

Traditional Skill/Art Craft: Charrería, Cowboy Rope Work

Years Won: 2013, 2016, 2020, 2022

Contact Information:

             Phone: (760)580-2895



Jose Antonio Huerta performs traditional Charrería. Charrería is a skill and art form that involves horsemanship, cattle work, and a sophisticated use of the rope that dates back to the 1500s. Huerta, a 2013 Oregon Folklife Network Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Master Artist, showcases his work at local community gatherings. Antonio Huerta grew up in a rural village in Jalisco, Mexico. His family made a living farming. They raised cattle, horses, donkeys, pigs, and chickens and he was tasked with the cattle and the horse work. As a result, he developed a passion for Charrería. His father and grandparents were excellent horsemen and talented in the use of the rope and always strived to pass on those talents to him. Antonio has now been performing Charrería for over 19 years. 


APPRENTICE BIOGRAPHY - Miguel Ruiz Topete, Jr. 2022
Miguel Ruiz Topete, Jr. is a young Charreria performer who grew up in Corvallis, Oregon in a family that does farming work. His father has always trained horses and that allowed him to develop an interest in riding, roping, and doing cattle work. Over the years, he has participated, alongside his father, in cultural events such as parades, private parties, and community events where they would perform horse riding and roping. For the past 8 years, they have collaborated with Antonio Huerta who has spearheaded events in the Eugene/Springfield and surrounding areas highlighting the Charreria tradition. These experiences have allowed Miguel to find a great sense of community through those activities.
Miguel would like to improve his roping skills through an apprenticeship with Antonio. He deeply identifies with the Charreria tradition and everything it represents.


APPRENTICE BIOGRAPHY - Rafael Acevedo Reveles 2020
Rafael Acevedo Reveles was born in Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico where he started riding horses on his family land at the age of six. As a teenager, he rode bulls and horses at rodeos as a hobby and learned charreríainformally from his parents, grandparents, and community members. By the age of 20, he joined his first charro association. When he moved to the United States, Rafael connected with local charros to learn more about and practice the charreríatradition. In 2019, he received the state championship title for the bull and bronc riding events in Oregon. While his main passion is riding bulls and horses, he aspires to continue developing his roping skills and techniques.


APPRENTICE BIOGRAPHY - Miguel Angel Ruiz Rangel 2016
Miguel has been surrounded by the Charreria tradition since birth. His father and grandparents always had horses and riding has been part has been part of his everyday life, especially in his younger years living in Mexico. Miguel enjoys riding horses and he worked for a profession Charro in Mexico taking care of the horses. Miguel feels he is a somewhat accomplished rider, but feels that learning to perform rope tricks is what is extremely necessary. He often attends Charreria events in Oregon and enjoys the atmosphere at these events. Growing up, Miguel wanted to learn to perform rope tricks, but he was not able to afford formal training and the environment was more conducive to riding only at the time. Most of what he knows about riding Miguel learned from his dad who was an excellent rider, but roping is necessary to participating competitively as a Charro. Miguel is looking forward to learning from Antonio during this apprentiship and working on his rope skills.


Israel Cortes was born in Harrisonburg, Virginia. When he was two years old his parents decided to move to Mexico so Israel could meet and spend time with his maternal grandparents. Israel then lived in Mexico in the town of Florencia, Zacatecas for the next few years. His father and grandfather started to buy cattle and Israel was immediately drawn to riding horses. Upon returning to the United States when he was twelve, Israel wanted to ride horses again. A friend from school introduced Israel to Charreria and through his friend Israel met other Charros in the area. With the support of his parents, Israel has been involved in the sport for the last four years. His parents bought him a horse, and Israel wants to continue making progress in his riding and performing.


Describe your traditional art.
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 did you come to learn this tradition?
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.
Why is this cultural tradition important to your community?
When I came to the United States, I realized there were not many Latino events that brought the community together as charrería does in Mexico, particularly in a way that showcased our heritage as Latino. I longed for those gatherings where families and communities came together to appreciate charrería. Practicing charrería in the United States has made me feel connected to my people, my culture, and my homeland. The added benefit of practicing charrería in the United States is the feeling of bringing a part of the Latino cultural history to Mexican Americans, especially to our youth, who might otherwise miss out on learning about this part of their heritage.
Antonio has received a couple of Championship awards in Oregon in the team-roping event in July 2018, in June 2017, and in November 2012. Some of the entries he has spearheaded at parades have also been recognized such as the Philomath Frolic Parade and Rodeo in July 2022, Eugene Parade in September 2019, in July 2018, and in August 2014. Antonio also received an award as outstanding Jaliscience in Los Angeles in August 2010 by the Governor of Jalisco for his work in promoting the Charreria tradition in the San Diego area. His participation at parades and events has also been recognized by newspaper publications such as the East Oregonian for his participation at the Pendleton Round Up, Oregon Live, Eugene Weekly, and the Register Guard have all written up stories about Antonio's work over the years.