“His smile is about as big as his 60-foot-diameter spinning maguey.”
That’s one of many appropriate descriptions.
Yet, there’s a frequent call-name which turns pleasantry to scowl.
Describe Geraldo “Jerry” Diaz as a “rope artist,” and he’ll give a grinning nod.
Call him a “trick roper,” and attitude will likely become ire.
However, say “Charro De Corazon,” and that toothy-grin reappears.
Yes, Diaz is “a true cowboy from the heart.”
He’s a Charro: “a Mexican cowboy, typically wearing an elaborate outfit, often with silver decorations, tight trousers, ruffled shirt, short jacket and sombrero.”
Within that’s the artist with his maguey (Mexican-style “grass” rope made of agave cactus fiber), his horses, his family, his faith and beyond.
“How special this beautiful life is. How could anyone ask for more?” insisted the renowned Diaz, above all a world-class gentleman.
With his beautiful wife, Staci, and their adorable son, Nicolas, the family recently entertained at the 75thanniversary Flint Hills Rodeo in Strong City.
Then they relaxed several days at Jerry Reece’s ranch near Alma, where they often visit.
All three gleaned wholesome-broad-grins, just like while entertaining, as faith, heritage and tradition are contagiously-obvious for the New Braunfels, Texas, family.
“Really and truly, how many can say their work and their family are their passion?” asserted Diaz, whose eight-year-old son is a fifth generation Charro.
“My dad, Pepe Diaz, 93, is the greatest horsemen I’ve ever known. He lives right on our 50-acre Three Mile Creek Ranch with his window facing the Lienzo Charro Arena he designed, and watches me ride.
Fourth generation Diaz clarified, “I was born in the United States. I’m an American of Spanish-Catholic heritage, and I strive to keep the Mexican tradition alive in my family and our programs.”
Horses and ropes were important to Diaz long before he could go to school. Endless are the son’s reflections of horses trained by his father, obviously most inspirational and educational for Diaz
Practice was never work for Diaz as he perfected his horsemanship and maguey skills. “I started contract performing, before I graduated from high school and have traveled throughout the country,” he said.
Gesturing the blessing of the cross immediately before and after each act, Diaz is emphatic that he “never turns his back to the crowd,” always removing his sombrero, bowing his horse and then backing out of the arena; an expression of his wife and son as well.
“There isn’t any trick to my roping. You can describe it as an art, but there aren’t any tricks to it,” Diaz emphasized.
Staci, originally from the renowned Anderson White Horse Ranch contract-entertainers of Texas, was prodded to tell about their first meeting.
“My dad was putting on a Wild West Show, needed a ‘trick roper,’ and heard about Jerry,” reflected Staci, cautiously using terminology that initiated her spouse’s grimace.
“I took the job, but I wasn’t to be called that,” Diaz responded.
The couple worked together occasionally during the next decade, until Diaz finally asked Staci to go to a rodeo with him. “We were both commenting about the same horses, and the same things. We just struck it right there,” she reflected.
“The rest is history,” Diaz inserted.
Their true-storybook-tale has continued as the performers, now married 12 years, combined their talents in even more demanded acts and services.
Besides her diverse horsemanship skills, Staci contributed important horseflesh to the partnership.
“She had an Andalusian stallion,” Diaz credited. “We mated that stallion to Quarter Horse mares and developed our own line of Aztecas.”
“We used to do more than 165 contracts a year, but we’ve reduced that to about 50,” Diaz commented. “We like to be at home during the school year, so Nicolas won’t miss classes.”
However, there’s no shortage of roping, training and performing in their 100-feet-by-500-feet indoor arena with seating for 500 guests, frequently there for corporate-sponsored events.
Besides their own horses, Diaz is in demand for training other horses as well as their owners.
As the family has reduced personal-performances, they’ve started producing major events around the country.
Appreciation was expressed to the Saddle & Sirloin Club of Kansas City and Purina Feeds for sponsoring them at the Flint Hills Rodeo, and to Jerry Hedrick for opening his home for them and their horses to stay.
Diaz is an ambassador for Purina Feeds and a spokesman for HW Brand Arena Systems.
“The honorable, majestic and skillful horsemanship of the Charro is an integral part of the Hispanic culture going back to the 17 century. It is rooted in the training, riding and roping skills developed in the Mexican cattle ranching industry.
“It was passed on to me, and I’m passing it to my son,” Diaz assured.
“Everything we do is from the heart. We have truly been blessed with gifts from God,” Diaz concluded.