By James MatthewsReuters
Tuesday, July 13, 2010; 3:22 PM
GUAXUPE, Brazil (Reuters Life!) - From close up you can hear the rasping breaths of a 450-kilogram (990-pound) bull as it bucks and whirls under the bright arena spotlights and struggles to unseat its plucky rider. Stand even closer to the rodeo and you might get a showering of grit scooped up by a large hoof and flung through gaps in the sturdy metal railings.
Guaxupe is a sleepy agricultural town in Brazil renowned for its yearly ten-day rodeo festival that brings together some of the country's most skilled professional cowhands and popular Brazilian country music singers. The town is in southern Minas Gerais state, the heart of Brazil's coffee growing region, and home to the world's largest coffee cooperative, Cooxupe.
"It's the craziest week of the year," said Ana Paula Chagas, a resident and employee of Cooxupe. "We are mid-way through the coffee harvest and everyone has money to spend." The rural festival in Guaxupe underscores the vast cultural differences across Brazil's enormous land mass.
From abroad, the country is often stereotyped as a destination for sand, samba and caipirinhas, but it is also a land of tough working cowboys and millions of passionate country music fans.
Read full article here