Title: Gauchos at the Wild West

Periodical: Daily Graphic

Date: June 25, 1892

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  [drawing]

THROWING THE BOLAS.

THE BUCK JUMPER THROWS TWO GAUCHOS
(TABLES TURNED).

NOT PLEASANT, BEING THROWN IN WET WEATHER.

RIDING A BUCK JUMPER
THROWING THE BUCK JUMPER ON TO HIS SIDE.

MOUNTING.

Reginald Cleaver.

THE SOUTH AMERICAN GAUCHOS AT BUFFALO BILL'S WILD WEST: SKETCHES IN THE ARENA. (See page 3.)

GAUCHOS AT THE WILD WEST.

To the feats of cowboys and Cossacks at the "Wild West" show, Colonel Cody has now added a performance by a troup of gauchos. Though these interesting visitors from the Argentine have been in England a full fortnight their debût at Earl's Court was delayed till Thursday, pending the arrival of some particularly truculent steeds on which the sons of the Pampas were to try their well-known skill. The management of the "Wild West," it appears, have taken umbrage at the suggestion that the "bucking" horses of the establishment are intentionally trained to "buck," and boldly issue a challenge that any horse from any part of the world shall be ridden if brought to the grounds at Earl's Court.

The gauchos established themselves on Thursday as a welcome augmentation of "Buffalo Bill's" programme, though with their immediate predecessors, the Cossacks, the palm must still remain for wild picturesqueness and dashing verve. Nine in number, the gauchos rode from three points, each sitting his horse like a centaur, and reined up for a salute in line. They wore the ordinary round Spanish hat, jackets of bright purple, black breeches, and raw-hide boots—made from the skin of freshly-killed colts, shaped to the leg and foot while warm, and sewn up at the toes, thus forming a boot and stocking in combination. Their saddles were of raw hide also, covered in some cases with a second one of sheepskin. Two upright posts had been set up in the centre of the arena, and the gauchos' first feat was an illustration of their method of using the "bolas," that deadly missile of hide thongs, each ending in an iron ball, which brings horse, cow, or ostrich alike helplessly to the ground, when hurled from even a distance of sixty feet. Lacking the live objects of attack, the gauchos cast their bolas at an upright pole, and left them rotating their like the governor-balls of a gas-engine. Riding past the other pole they threw their lassos over the top, with occasional misses that proved the feat more difficult than at a distance it appeared, since the reputation of the gauchos rests as much on their lassoing as their rough-riding. Some horses which had been mounted for the first time four days before were then brought on to the scene, and such fun as was within the power of the gauchos to provide was now begun. Promptly lassoing one of the newly entered animals they twined the rope around his leg and slowly pulled him to the ground. Two men then made an attempt to mount him, but with a convulsive spring he turned a complete somersault and then leapt, quivering, to his feet. Again the lasso—of which the men had not let go—was twined round his leg, and again he was made to bow his head to the earth, and while prostrate he was mounted by two gauchos. Then the horse "sprung loose and flew into an escapade." Kicking, curveting, bucking, and bending himself in all manner of contortions, he did his best to unseat his riders. And with success, for ere fifty yards were traversed the rear man rolled off—somewhat riskily it seemed—and his companion soon followed, the horse scampering gaily and triumphantly across the plain. The horse being brought back, the earthward penance was again imposed, and, after a second somersault, the gauchos mounted him. This time the rear man stuck grimly on, and the twain rode gallantly half round the ring. But the brute never ceased his efforts to dislodge his riders, who, it must be observed, had only a skin saddle by which to cling—a very different article in point of security from the high seat of the cowboys. Thus it was that eventually both gauchos, much to their own chagrin, were again pitched off into a pool of mud. The other unmanageable horses were not experimented with, and though doubtless destined to be subdued at subsequent performances, for the present victory rested with the animal, and man it was that was conquered.

Note: Reginald Thomas Cleaver (C. 1870-1954); Reginald Cleaver was an illustrator. He was employed on The Graphic staff from about 1893 and worked for that paper and The Daily Graphic until 1910. He was considered one of the most important Graphic artists of the Edwardian era.

Title: Gauchos at the Wild West

Periodical: Daily Graphic

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.062.12 (1892 London)

Date: June 25, 1892

Topic: European Tours

Keywords: American Indians Bolas Clothing and dress Cossacks Cowboys Drawings and graphics Ethnic costume Exhibitions Gauchos Horsemanship Horsemen Scrapbooks Traveling exhibitions Wild horses

People: Cleaver, Reginald

Places: Earl's Court (London, England) London (England) Pampas (Argentina)

Artist/Illustrator: Reginald Thomas Cleaver (c. 1870-1954)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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