Benguet Cowgirls

Wow. You got to be impressed with these girls. Can you imagine yourself grappling a bull to the ground and tying it up? Our Benguet State University coeds were able to do that during a rodeo contest in Masbate. They made the Inquirer as a result. Congratulations, cowgirls.

Coeds turn cowgirls in Masbate rodeo
By Jaymee T. Gamil / Inquirer

MASBATE CITY – At this time of the year, most “colegialas” can be found on the beach, flaunting the latest swimwear and perfecting their tans. Janice Mino and Juanita Palileng of Benguet State University (BSU), however, choose to spend the summer in Masbate’s dusty corrals, wearing denims and wrestling bulls.

For three years, Janice and Juanita have been roughing it, along with teammates from the BSU Highland Cowboys and Cowgirls, at the cattle sports events during the Rodeo Masbateño festival in Masbate City. The rodeo is a yearly event to celebrate the island-province’s “cattle country” culture.

This year, Janice and Juanita bagged first place in the two-person carambola women’s division. The contestants competed for the fastest time in capturing a bull with bare hands, grappling the animal down to the ground, and tying it up.

“Parang mga lalaki (They are like men),” an awed spectator exclaimed during the contest. In only a little more than a minute, the two women cornered the fleeing bull, wrestled it down, and roped its flailing legs.

Something to prove
“I wanted to show that women can be as tough as men,” Janice said, when asked why she joined the informal rodeo club in school in La Trinidad town in Benguet. Juanita was inspired by former members and was attracted at the prospect of traveling to different places to compete.

Both students consider the challenge fun. Like other athletes, members of the rodeo team physically prepare themselves with a tough regimen of weightlifting exercises, daily jogging and kickboxing. “But we practice with mechanical bulls at our school, so when we actually compete, it’s a different experience,” Janice related.

A cattle handler also needs technique rather than just brute strength, said Felimon Abelita III, president of the Rodeo Masbateño Inc. (RMI), which organized the festival. “During actual contests,” Janice said, “we go for the bull’s head. When you stranglehold the bull, its attention focuses on its head, weakening its legs and making it easier to topple down.”

But the best technique is still cooperation and teamwork, Janice and Juanita said. “Sometimes, we get competitive with our male team mates, but they admit we match them in skills. At the end of the day, we just help each other win as a team,” Janice said.

But Janice and Juanita, a fourth-year and fifth-year veterinary medicine students, have their own practical reasons for engaging in rodeo sports. They said they have been able to apply their rodeo skills in real life. “It comes in handy when we have to restrain large animals,” Janice pointed out.

Read the whole story here.

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