Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro

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The Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro (Portuguese for "Cowboy Festival") is a rodeo featuring bulls and horses, in the style of American rodeos. In Brazil hundreds such festivals are held throughout the year.

The Festa do Peão is one of the most famous such festivals, and has become world-famous for its size. The festival is held every year in the São Paulo (state) city of Barretos, where it has traditionally been organized and promoted by the social club Os Independentes ("The Independents").

In 1955, in Barretos, a group of bachelors organized the first recorded Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro. Since that time the festival has become world famous for its scale, and the high quality of cowboys, horses, and bulls. The festival takes place every August, coinciding with the anniversary of the founding of Barretos, August 25. It continues to be organized by The Independents.

2005 saw the 50th annual Festa, its Gold anniversary. Until 1984, the festivities took place in Paulo de Lima park, in the center of Barretos, where memorable expositions of cattle took place during the 60s through the 80s. Since 1985 The Independents have held the event in a 110-hectare park with a stadium large enough to hold 35 thousand people, designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer The festival has its origins in the transfer of cattle from pasturing in the nearby states of Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Mato Grosso to slaughterhouses in Barretos. The cowboys in the "entourages" that led the herds would meet in the afternoons and compete with each other to see who could ride the most spirited horses - the precursor to today's competition. The more difficult tradition of riding bulls instead of horses was brought from the United States of America.

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