Mexico's oldest sport is known as Charreria. The men who practice the sport are called charros but perhaps more impressive are the women known as the escaramuzas. One group of young women is continuing the tradition of this Mexican equestrian sport right here in Idaho.
The sport is escaramuza charreria and the team of eight go by Reinas Del Valle. They are an all-women horseback riding team competing against other women's teams. They are now the first in the state to qualify for the national championship.
"It's the first team in Idaho and Utah that goes and competes, so it's a big deal,” said Esmeralda Castaneda, the team Captain for Reinas Del Valle.
They are now headed to Mexico by the end of the month, where they will be going against hundreds of teams. These eight escaramuzas won the state local title and are now preparing for the national championship. Many of these young ladies said they are not just doing it for leisure. Like many of their parents chasing the American dream, these young women pursue what they call the Mexican dream, hoping to keep their natural roots.
“My grandpa did this in Mexico, and then they started a team here. And so we kind of saw it, and as a little girl, I was like, 'Wow, I want to be like them,'" said Yamilex Magama, escaramuza with Reinas Del Valle.
During the competitions, the escaramuzas score on skill, grace and elegance while ensuring synchronization.
“Just being able to go is a big achievement, not just for me but for my parents, because they helped me through the whole journey,” said Amelia Hernandez, escaramuza with Reinas Del Valle.
Unfortunately, these escaramuzas have a disadvantage when competing in Mexico. No U.S. team can bring their own horses to the competition. But regardless, they are excited to represent the Gem state.
“We haven't heard a lot about Idaho in Mexico. There isn't a lot of Idaho. We dont really hear it. So I'm really excited that we are going to be the first team representing Idaho,” said Valentina Esquivel, Escaramuza with Reinas Del Valle.
The Reinas Del Valle will compete on October 24th in Zacatecas, Mexico.