Ramirez pushes the herd of over 641 cows, calves, and bulls, attempting to avoid roads so as not to block traffic.
Erik “Chapa” Alvarado, local folk singer from Puerto Natales sits around on the first day of the rodeo at Cerro Castillo.
An Argentinean gaucho swings a rebenque, a hard leather whip, in a jineteada gaucha, traditional sport in the gaucho culture in the southern cone of South America. The rider must stay on the untamed horse for six to 15 seconds, depending on the category.
Riders chase a horse into a waiting corral before being released for a lasso event at the Annual Rodeo in Cerro Castillo.
Morocho selects a horse from the corral at Hotel Las Torres in Torres del Paine National Park.
Micho Torres Gomez warms himself by the fire used to cook two lambs on spits after a brief snowfall in Torres del Paine.
A boy prepares to tie his horse up on the inaugural night of the 2008 annual rodeo at Cerro Castillo, a small village located near Torres del Paine National Park.
Wild horses are brought to Cerro Castillo from nearby ranches for the annual jineteada, a contest for local gauchos to see how long each can ride the bucking untamed horses.
Tomás Marusic gazes into the night while Rosita holds him at an outdoor midnight barbecue celebrating the rodeo at Cerro Castillo.
William Faulconer pauses for a moment at a barbeque party during the weekend of the rodeo at Cerro Castillo, Chile.
The ranches that dot the map from Torres del Paine National Park to Punta Arenas in Chile tell tales of a hard life. The gauchos — or baqueanos as they are known in Chile — are the horsemen and women who spend most of the year riding horses. Once home to some of the largest sheep ranches in the world, the Magallanes region of Chile now relies more on salmon and natural gas exports as principal industries. Those who still work on the ranches travel between towns and outposts in dusty pickup trucks through one of the least populated regions on Earth.
From the summer months of January to March, crowds of hundreds gather in small outposts like Cerro Castillo for horse-riding competitions called jineteadas. Some come from as far as Uruguay, roughly 2,200 miles away. Amid the tireless winds that bat the region, contestants mount untamed horses and attempt to ride for as long as they can, with categories for 6, 10 and 15 second rides. Folksingers strum away at guitars in the evening and barbecues continue past midnight. In this part of the extreme southern hemisphere, even when the sun goes down at 11:30pm, the sound of laughter and music lingers amid the dying embers.