Silver Spurs Rodeo
For over 50 years, the Silver Spurs Rodeo has
attracted participants from across the United States and Canada to
the largest rodeo in the eastern United States. In 1999, four
hundred cowhands competed for $100,000 in prizes. For three days,
rain or shine, competition in bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle
bronc riding, bareback riding, and barrel racing takes place as
judges evaluate each ride on time, animal activity, and rider
technique. Other performances include the world famous Silver Spurs
Quadrille team where eight couples intricately execute a square
dance on horseback.
The Silver Spurs began in March 1944 during World War
II as an event to support the war effort. One thousand people
attended with admission price being the purchase of one war bond.
The first full-dressed rodeo began on July 4, 1944.
The rodeo is run by the Silver Spurs Club, a
non-profit organization and one of the largest rodeo volunteer
organizations in the country. In 1949, they purchased land on
Highway 192 in Kissimmee for a permanent home for future rodeos.
The Club is unique for owning its own stock, running the rodeo, and
maintaining the facility. Over the years, the area and facility
have grown to include a clubhouse, concession area, stand, and
stadium that now has covered seating for an audience of 10,000.
Between rodeos, these facilities are available for other community
events; the Club donates to local community organizations, as
The Rodeo is particularly significant to the central
Florida area because of the importance of cattle as an early major
industry. Osceola County was one of the major cattle producing
counties in Florida until the 1980s. Skills in riding and working
cattle were very important; therefore, the rodeo was always the
main event for the community. The Osceola County schools still
close for Rodeo Day each year. Some students even compete. The
Rodeo is now held twice a year: the Silver Spurs Rodeo and Fair is
held in February, and the Silver Spurs Rodeo and Kissimmee Ribfest
takes place in October.
Originally submitted by: Bill McCollum, Representative (8th District).
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