Steamboat Springs Rodeo fans have a rare opportunity this weekend to experience the authentic brand of equestrian skills born centuries ago in the Mexican state of Jalisco.
Known as charros, the horsemen of Jalisco are known for their trick riding and roping performances as much as they are for their ornate costumes. Jerry Diaz, a San Antonio native, is a fourth-generation charro whose training is rooted in his family's Palos Verdes ranch in Jalisco. Diaz spends the summer bringing his unique show to rodeos across the West, and he will perform tonight and Saturday at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.
This weekend's shows will be Diaz's only performances of the summer in Steamboat.
"We're very excited to have (Diaz) back," rodeo board chairman Brent Romick said. "He's an absolute class act and good at what he does, the whole package. For people that appreciate true horsemanship and skill, there's not anyone that we have year-in, year-out that's more popular."
Romick also raved that Diaz is a perennial contender for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Act of the Year award.
"Folks in town should come if they want to see a little history of Mexico -- with the beauty of the saddles, the music, the outfits and the training of the animals. It's very exciting and colorful," Diaz said about his 12- to 15-minute show that he performs with the help of his wife, Staci.
Diaz said his show will have a surprise involving his 2 ½-year-old son, Nicolas. Although he didn't want to give away too much, Diaz said his son's rope skills won him a standing ovation at their last stop at a rodeo near Calgary, Alberta.
"He's the star," Diaz said. "If you want to see something, he'll steal your heart."
The rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena located in the Howelsen Hill Park Complex, 501 Howelsen Parkway.