OGDEN -- Horses dance across the freshly groomed dirt of the Golden Spike Events Center as a Banda Sinaloense blast their brass and winds to a spitfire drum beat.
In the wings, wranglers queue bulls into pens, mariachis tune their instruments and the ladies of Los Enanitos Torreros U.S.A. do their hair with straightening irons.
The madness is all part of the show as men, women and children in cowboy hats take to their seats to enjoy a traditional Mexican rodeo known as a jaripeo on Sunday afternoon in Ogden.
Before the show, Jairo Castillo waited in the back parking lot twirling a lasso. He came up with a group of jaripeo enthusiasts from Salt Lake City and their horses.
Castillo and his friend are excited to see a Mexican rodeo in Utah.
"There hasn't been a jaripeo here for almost two and a half years," Castillo said.
Once given the all clear, the group strolled into the area on horseback performing a few tricks for the audience and giving rides to children.
The jaripeo is the forerunner to the American rodeo, where cowboys show their skills on horses, roping and taming livestock.
The jaripeo preserves those traditions but does it all to the beat of a live band, combining for large musical acts.
"In a Mexican rodeo, there is music, the artists come and perform," Alfredo BojÃ³rquez said.
"In an American rodeo, there is just rodeo."
BojÃ³rquez, a national recording artist known to his fans as El Puma de Sinaloa, is a usual draw for such events. He was featured on a lineup that included Mexican regional music goddess Graciela Beltran as headliner along with, Banda Astilleros, Frederico Villa and Utah-based Los Chacas.
After the bulls and the horses hoofed it off of the arena sand, the fans come down to dance the rest of the night away.
For many shows, BojÃ³rquez sings from horseback, a common feature in many jaripeos. During such a performance, the horse is just as busy entertaining as the singer.
"They lay down, get up and dance," BojÃ³rquez said, "the only thing missing is for them to talk on the telephone."
Music is the most important part of a jaripeo, Daniel Sanchez said.
Sanchez started working in jaripeos 15 years ago, opening shoots during the rodeos back home in his native Jalisco.
"As long as you have music or a band people get into it," Sanchez said. "Without music, there isn't life."
It helps calm the animals as well.
"The horse has emotions, he has a heart," Sanchez said.
The rules for Mexican rodeos differ as well.
Mexican riders must hold onto the bull until it stops bucking to show they have taken control of the animal. To achieve this type of bull riding, the rider uses both hands and wears a spur that hooks into the bull's skin.
Most places in the United States, including the Golden Spike Events Center do not allow hooks.
Kearns resident Daniel Ortiz, originally from the Mexican state of Jalisco, is fine with the rule. He finds the hooks to be cruel to the animals.
Ortiz has spent years working as a bull rider in the U.S. competing in both American rodeos and jaripeos. While he spends more time in American rodeos, he loves participating jaripeos when he can.
"It's tradition," he said.
This is one of the few jaripeos that has ever been to Ogden. Promoter Ruben Huerta wanted a venue that would support the bulls and the bands.
Ogden turned out to be the right place, with the Golden Spike Arena providing a great venue.
"We don't have to make a single modification for the rodeo," he said.
Huerta said he is confident people across the Wasatch Front would travel to the event. When he lived in Las Vegas, people would regularly make the 90-minute trip to Mesquite to catch a show.
"It's a place where the entire family can come out and be entertained," Huerta said.
To provide a family atmosphere, Huerta also brought in Los Enanitos Torreros USA, a group of dwarves that put on a minirodeo and show.
For the show, little people appear as smaller versions of famous Mexican singers and hold riding competitions against each other on miniature animals.
"It's everything, but small," Juan Morales Raya from Guanajuato, Mexico said.
Morales has performed in every state in the union, usually with jaripeos. He said Mexicans need the shows to unwind and help them reconnect to their roots.
"They come to let go of their stress and to be entertained," he said, "They leave their problems at home and come to have fun."