Coleo: The Rodeo of Colombia and Venezuela
Many private boarding schools have rodeo programs that are creating a growing interest in rodeos. This growing interest might spark curiosity to know what rodeos are like in countries like Colombia and Venezuela. How are rodeos different in these countries?
Private boarding schools in Colombia and Venezuela are different than they are in the United States, and don’t usually focus on rodeo studies — but rodeos in these countries are largely similar to rodeos in the U.S. Rodeos in Colombia and Venezuela have most of the same events that rodeos in the U.S. have, with one additional event called coleo.
In the U.S. we go to a rodeo and expect it to be held in a large open dirt arena, usually outside. However, a coleo rodeo field is different. It is a long and narrow span of dirt about 100 yards long and 15 yards wide. Coleo arenas pretty much look just like a dirt road that is surrounded on all sides by audience seating.
Coleo is a high-speed event, where four or five horse-mounted competitors take the field with a running calf or bull. Each competitor hurries to topple the bull by grabbing the bull’s tail and accelerates alongside the bull while pulling its tail. The competitors are judged by how fast they are able to drag the bull to the ground. Being a successful coleo athlete takes a fair amount of leverage and strength.
Coleo isn’t without its risks — and it can be just as dangerous as any other rodeo event. You could learn from rodeo programs at private boarding schools about the dangers of the rodeo. Competitors can easily be tossed off their horses and trampled by the bull or the other four horses in very close proximity. If a rider falls from his or her horse, that rider scrambles as fast as he or she can to remount the horse before being trampled.
Unlike rodeos in the United States, Coleos aren’t usually held as stand-alone events but as more of a side show for larger events. Rodeos in the United States typically are the main event. Going to a coleo in Colombia or Venezuela would be like going to a concert that also had a small rodeo off to the side.
Private boarding schools in the United States don’t teach coleo in their rodeo studies, but it is interesting to see what different rodeo variations exist in other parts of the world.