For more than 70 years, fans of the Silver Spurs Rodeo have been moved by heart-pounding feats of daring and courage. Such action routinely inspires reactions like "Ouch!" and "Oh my gosh!" and "Man, I can't believe they do this." Many of the reactions are in response to the unbelievable athleticism of bareback riders lurching forward and back, thighs gripping their animated bull tight; one hand red, clutching onto a strategically wrapped rough rope. That's a lot of action in eight seconds; you quickly realize it takes a special breed of competitor to ride a bull. The same holds true for a cowboy who can be thrown from his bronco like a rag doll, intuitively dodging four hoofs that come crashing to the ground. That's part of what makes the Silver Spurs Rodeo a proud tradition in Kissimmee.
Ranchers & Cowboys
The Silver Spurs Rodeo started with humble beginnings in 1941 with a group of Osceola County ranchers who shared an interest in horseback riding. After the first official rodeo held in 1944 to sell war bonds and in the decades since, that interest has evolved into what is now one of the largest rodeos east of the Mississippi River, bringing thousands to Kissimmee, Florida, for the twice-yearly event. The spring rodeo takes place the last weekend in February. The summer event takes place the first weekend in June. Silver Spurs Rodeo is annually ranked among the top 50 events sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).
Thrilling events at the indoor Silver Spurs Arena include bronc riding, barrel racing and team roping. Bull Riding is rodeo's most dangerous and exciting event; with only a bull rope as a handhold, competitors must remain on a bucking bull for eight seconds. Bareback Bronc Riding has similar rules. Riders are disqualified from both if they touch their equipment, themselves or the animal with their free hand. Nothing easy about that.
A Family Event
Rodeo action is amazing but two words help give each event a bit more color and flair: rodeo clowns! This sure-fire favorite keeps the kids engaged, while other crowd-pleasers include the Quadrille-horseback square dancers, a Silver Spurs Rodeo original. Cowgirls are involved with Silver Spurs, too. Fast as lightning, these young ladies put their horses through their paces barrel racing. Or watch Miss Silver Spurs, Little Miss Silver Spurs and the Little Miss Silver Spurs Court greet the audience as their ceremonial trucks parade around the arena. Throughout the year, the Rodeo Queens promote Silver Spurs at local community events around central Florida.
The climate-controlled Silver Spurs Arena is outfitted with creature comforts plus vendors that sell grub and country and horse-riding gear. You'll certainly find plenty of excuses to cowboy up on your Florida vacation.
132nd Silver Spurs Rodeo
February 21-23, 2014
Fri-Sat: 7:30pm, Sun: 2pm
Silver Spurs Arena at Osceola Heritage Park
1875 Silver Spur Lane
$15 for adults, kids under 10 are free