The Festa do Peao, a giant celebration of cowboy culture, will be taking place in Barretos, Brazil (a small town north of Sao Paolo) from the 20th – 30th August. Now the most successful rodeo in the country, this huge 10 day event has been running since 1956, when it was the only event of its kind. The Cowboy Lifestyle Network, Ak-Chin Indian Community and Earnhardt Auto Centers Road Team will be there covering this fan favorite rodeo.
In the early part of the 20th century Barretos was the centre for cattle trade to Sao Paolo, and it housed the biggest cattle factory in America. The sport of rodeo itself began when cowboys from neighboring herds would meet and compete to see who could ride the most dangerous animals. The first Festa do Peao was held here over 50 years ago, when a group calling themselves ‘The Independents’ agreed to hold an annual event involving races, and horsemanship competitions. Each year ever since the event has grown in attendance and popularity, and it is now the second biggest rodeo in the world (the largest being in Texas) and is viewed by the Cowboy community as the World Championships of the sport.
Each year upwards of one million tourists come to watch the competitions and join in the festivities. Dressed as cowboys and cowgirls people come from all over Brazil and beyond to take part in the party. Major international country musical artists are booked to perform there each year with concerts staged each night of the festival. Previous performers include Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and Billy Ray Cyrus, who attract crowds of up to 50,000. This year, Garth Brooks will be performing on the main stage on August 22, 2015.
The rodeo events include Barrel Racing (a women’s event), Steer Wrestling, Team Penning and Bull Riding, with the highest prize being that of Champion of the Barretos Rodeo, a title which is contended for by competitors from around the globe. There are also junior events for future cowboys including mutton bustin.
For the shopping enthusiast, a huge shopping fair surrounds the rodeo itself. Here you can buy not just cowboy boots and hats, but also all kinds of food, drinks and even a stuffed bull’s head should you want one for your living room wall.
Hotels, inns and campsites book up fast in the days leading up to the festival so if you are looking to make your way there don’t delay in making your booking!