In Old California, you didn’t go to the mall – the mall came to you!
...In the form of ships which made the rough and dangerous journey around the Horn. That journey, from the Old World in Spain to the New World of California, might take years, so the arrival of a ship laden with luxury items such as fine clothe, lace, wrought silver, books, spices, letters and newspapers was a huge event, celebrated with fiestas that often lasted for weeks (as pictured in the paintings at left).
Fiestas always included contests and feats of horsemanship, as vaqueros showed off their skills and their horses. Soon these contests came to be known as rodeos (ro-DAY-os), after the word used on the great ranchos to describe cattle round-ups.
Top & Below left: Riding out of a page in the history books, the Vaquero Heritage Riders portray a scene once common on these shores – Californios greeting an arriving ship.
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