Raucous 'Mexican rodeos' draw crowds, and some discontent, in South Jersey?
The events have become a source of contention in some communities, drawing protests by animal-rights activists and complaints of noise and unruly behavior.
In Hopewell, 40 miles south of Philadelphia, as many as 2,500 charreada fans have converged on Dutch Neck Village, which owns the field where the shows are held. The throb of music on summer weekends has angered residents who, after four years of back-and-forth between the town and event organizers, want the rodeo out.
"The music, you can hear it a mile or two miles away," said Mayor Bruce Hankins, owner of a local lumber store. "This is a very quiet, peaceful South Jersey community, and we find this tremendously disruptive. You can't sit in your backyard or have a picnic."
Under pressure from animal-rights groups, state legislators in the South and West have outlawed charreada events such as horse tripping, in which cowboys use lassos to bring down a horse in full gallop.