Reflecting on the Rupununi Ranchers Rodeo

At the Rodeo: rider unseated

Long before last weekend’s Rupununi Ranchers Rodeo at Lethem had started the six hotels whose accommodation amount to approximately 150 rooms had all been taken.  Beyond those, the spike in demand for accommodation had resulted in some residents throwing open their homes to meet the shortfall in required accommodation. Even that, however, was not enough and at least one enterprising person had put together limited tented accommodation. That too attracted a generous numbers of takers.

 The Rodeo brings visitors to Lethem like moths to a candle flame and the habit of booking accommodation for the next year as soon as the current year’s festivities are over has become commonplace. Accordingly, as early as January, we were told, there had been little if any accommodation to be had.

The Rodeo has its origins in the middle of the last century, when vaqueros competed against each other in various skills familiar to the ranching community. Over time, it grew to become a broader-based community event, located at St. Ignatius before shifting to the more centralized Lethem location in 1985. These days, and without displacing the traditional events that shaped the original programme, it has metamorphosed into a much broader ritual that blends tradition with contemporary preferences…..

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