America Martinez-Heras Captain of Escaramuza Rayenari, Academic Counselor, - Phoenix, USA

America Martinez-Heras

I wish I had an interesting story for my name. I get this question asked ALL of the time. The only story to it is that my dad liked the name and decided to name me America!

Captain of Escaramuza Rayenari, Academic Counselor, Wife, Mom

Age: I am 35 years old. Born on 26th July. I am the youngest of four – two sisters and a brother. I am closest in age to my brother, but he is 11 years older than me.

Provenance: I was born in Cd Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. I moved to the USA when I was eight years old and did not speak one word of English. It was a tough transition but I was super excited about living in a new country and learning the language.

How long have you lived in Phoenix? I have lived in Phoenix for 27 years. My parents decided to move out here to find better job opportunities and provide a better life for their family.

Occupations: My first job out of college was at a real estate title company. I worked there for about two years. I have been an academic counselor for 10+ years at the University of Phoenix. My “occupation” as a team captain for Escaramuza Rayenari is by far my favorite. An escaramuza (Skirmish) is an all-girl horseback riding team. Our team consists of nine girls of which only eight enter the competitions. The routine that we compete with is made up of 12 drills and its performed throughout at a full gallop, with all riders mounted on sidesaddles. Our routine is scored and point deductions are made for the loss for synchronization and symmetry. The escaramuza is part of my family tradition. The tradition started with my grandpa. My father was a charro (Mexican Cowboy) since he was eight years old and he passed on this beautiful tradition to us. My oldest sister has been riding since she was seven years old. Both of my sisters and three nieces are escaramuzas. This tradition has allowed us to maintain our roots in the USA, but most importantly, it has kept my family united because we all share the same passion. I have been a part of this team for eight years and have created great memories. We’ve had the opportunity to compete nationally and internationally. Our team was featured in a Vogue magazine article. We were then contacted through social media and we were offered the opportunity to fly out to Paris, France and open up the DIOR Cruise 2019 fashion show with our routine. That was a dream come true.

What do people know you for? I believe most people know me for being extremely close to my family. I value every minute that I can spend with them. I am also known for being passionate and dedicated to Escaramuza Rayenari. They are my second family and I treasure every moment/experience that I have lived with these incredible girls.

What does Phoenix mean to you? Phoenix to me is my HOME! I have lived here for 27 years and I plan to stay here for the rest of my life. Phoenix has seen me grow and has provided me with the most wonderful memories. I went to Arizona State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I also attended the University of Phoenix and graduated with a Master of Business Administration. I was married in Phoenix in 2014. My biggest blessing was born here in Phoenix in 2015. I love the weather and I would not have it any other way.

Tallulah’s Musings

Researching for the World People Project – America kindly invited me to see and photograph a very early morning practice of an escaramuza at Corona Ranch, Phoenix, Arizona. Escaramuza is an all-female equestrian sport that developed out of Mexican traditional competitive riding known as charreira. The female riders ride sidesaddle and perform intricate choreographies at high speed, with all riders displaying a high level of horsemanship. While in the practice ring the riders wore traditional sombreros, spurs, boots and casual clothing. This was their last practice before they performed the next week at Congreso Nacional Charro Zacatecas 2018. The portrait of America was taken a few days after their training at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix. America wore the traditional clothing that would be worn in a competition: a belt, a starched petticoat under the embroidered dress, a hair bow and a brooch at the neckline.

Conversation & Portrait by Tallulah
October 2018, Phoenix, USA
Published December 2018

If you enjoyed reading this conversation with America please feel free to send me an email, I always love to hear your thoughts and comments.
Tallulah can be commissioned for all types of portraiture, contact her to discuss further.

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by TallulahAmerica Martinez-Heras Captain of Escaramuza Rayenari, Academic Counselor, - Phoenix, USA