Cattle catch | Brazil

Name in Original Language

Pega de boi

Area Where Played



The cattle catch in the bush is a tradition that dates back to the times of European occupation of the northeastern backlands. At those times, the animals were still raised released all over the properties. At some times the cowboy, covered with leather clothes, got inside the caatinga (typical vegetation) to catch the cattle always with a big courage and singing their own songs. It was a big celebration. After catching all the cattle, the herdsmen separate the cattle belonging to each farmer, increasing the friendship between all of them.

Detailed Description

Different of the rodeos, the cattle catch happens on the caatinga, which is a typical vegetation of the northeastern backlands of Brazil. This vegetation is filled with thorns and cactus, demanding courage of every participant. The horses can reach a high speed and an accident can be fatal. For them, coming back of the caatinga with some scratches is a reason for pride.
The current events occur at the same properties that use to occur when it was just another daily task. The farmers provide the soil, animals and food, while the contestants pay a small inscription fee, aiming to get the winner’s prize.
Besides the contest, the event offers typical music, food and a special cowboy’s catholic mass, that started due to the death of the almost mythical figure of the herdsman Raimundo Jacó.


The dispute is always between two cowboys. This way, in couples they wait in the same line of the door which is holding the cattle to be captured. After the door opening, the herdsman can ride their horses into the vegetation and the one who bring back a collar attached to the neck of the cattle is the winner, which receives prizes in money or things like cells and harness.
To avoid serious injuries the knight must use characteristic clothing. The main piece of it is the “gibão”, that is a leather jacket protecting arms, neck and body. Besides that there are leather pants and a special protection to the chest, also made with leather. The final accessory is the traditional leather hat, protecting the face against the sun and the head of the vegetation.