A cavalcade is a procession or parade (of sorts) on horseback, or a mass trail ride by a company of riders. The focus of a cavalcade is participation rather than display; often, the participants do not wear costumes or ride in formation. Often, a cavalcade re-enacts an important historical event and follows a long distance trail. A cavalcade may also be a pilgrimage.
Many cavalcades involve ceremonial entries into and departures from towns and villages along the way. A small version of such a ceremonial entry is the grand entry that is traditional in many rodeos. Long distance cavalcades may acquire more riders with each departure from a populated place along its route.
In New Mexico, Philmont Scout Ranch includes cavalcades among its programs. The annual pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayó includes a cavalcade of cars on Good Friday. Traditionally, the pilgrimage is made on foot; a few pilgrims ride horses. The annual Cabalgata Binacional Villista terminates in Columbus.
In Texas, numerous long distance cavalcades occur annually in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; the oldest of these was established in 1952. A 110-mile cavalcade is held annually on Chisholm Trail (on paved road) from Cuero to San Antonio in conjunction with the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo
On 26 through 28 October 2007 the Governor of the State of Sonora, Eduardo Bours Castelo, and the regional Cattlemen's Association led a cavalcade of approximately 7,000 Cowboys from primarily the local area, the state of Sonora, some other Mexican states and several western U.S. states. The cavalcade was called "Remontando El Río Sahuaripa 2007," and the route covered 61 kilometers beginning in Sahuaripa going south following the river upstream, through the municipality of Arivechi, passing the banks of the Cajon de Onapa Reservoir Lake and ending in the village of Guisamopa. The cowboys and horses were fed and supplied by an elaborate "Chuck Wagon" system. That cavalcade is the focal end stage of the 500 km (311 mile) Cabalgando por Sonora from the Río Sonora to the Sierra Alta.
In February and March, the Cabalgata Binacional Villista commemorates the 9 March 1916 invasion of the United States by Pancho Villa's men. The first cavalcade took place in 1999 and followed a relatively short route. A handful of riders were expected but over 80 showed up. In 2008 the 9th cavalcade began on 27 February in Ciudad Madera with more than 200 riders and over 10 days traversed 397 km (247 miles) north through towns and villages in northern Mexico (Ignacio Zaragoza, Buenaventura, Galeana, Nuevo Casas Grandes, Casas Grandes, Colonia Graciano Sánchez, Janos, Ascensión, Seis de Enero) to Puerto Palomas de Villa, arriving on 7 March with a complement of 400 riders and twice as many crew. On 8 March 100 riders continued across the United States–Mexico border 3 miles to the Pancho Villa State Park and Museum in the village of Columbus, New Mexico. In 2008, from the border the Villistas were accompanied by 200 American riders. The 8th cavalcade in 2007 was larger, with 500 riders arriving in Puerto Palomas de Villa. The 7th cavalcade in 2006 was smaller but the arrival of the 100 Villistas at Pancho Villa State Park coincided with ceremonies attended by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Chihuahua Governor José Reyes Baeza Terrazas, and many other dignitaries.
Horses traveling from Mexico to the United States normally are subject to quarantine of at least 3 days, but in 2006, 2007 and 2008 a special 12-hour waiver was obtained for up to 100 horses. (Hence the limit of 100 Villistas.) Before 2006, the Mexican horses were left behind in Mexico and the Villistas rode American horses from the border to the park.
In July the Cabalgata Jornada Villista commemorates Francisco "Pancho" Villa's assassination on 23 July 1923 in Parral. This cavalcade travels to Parral from Chihuahua City, a distance of 220 km (137 miles). Since its first occurrence in 1996, this cavalcade has grown progressively larger; in 2007 3,000 riders participated.