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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 well.

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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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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