Hierra Las Cabezas Panama

In the Azuero Peninsula cattle is king. Undoubtably, there are more heads of cows than people in this area of Panama.pedasi rodeo panama

Just moments away from Pedasi is the tiny community of Las Cabezas, which in english means the heads. Every January 1st it is tradition to have a hierra in Las Cabezas. A hierra is a type of bull rodeo. The object is for the cowboy to grab the bull by the tail and force him down. The bull is let out of the shoot and the cowboy takes off after him on his horse, both at full stride. The rider grabs the bull by the tail and out runs him on the horse with tail in hand, causing the bull to get tripped up and fall to the ground, preferably in a roll. If the bull falls, the contestant moves on through the rounds. It’s an elimination event, each rider pays a one time fee and as long as he keeps dropping bovines he moves on. Whoever makes it to the end without failing to bring a bull down is the final winner.

The finals gets slightly more technical.  If two cowboys are in a tie constantly dropping bulls without fail then the first rider to drop a bull with the bull rolling twice wins. This double roll is called campanilla. One roll is only campana. Campanilla is always a crowd favorite. It basically signifies that the horse and bull are running at such a speed that the momentum forces the bull to roll twice. The crowd goes wild! Nothing like speed, dust and rolling livestock to get folks fired up!

Like must festivities in Panama, la Hierra del Año Nuevo includes copious amounts of cheap alcohol, even the contestants drink! It’s interesting to see the riders lined up on their horses, waiting their turn, drinking beers and passing Seco around. Not all imbibe, and probably those that choose not to are must likely to win.

La hierra was a great time, a good way to start the new year, unless of course you are a bull on the Azuero.