Silver Spurs Rodeo
Florida Guide > Other Florida
If you are lucky enough to be in Florida in February or October you can visit the Silver Spurs Rodeo and see some of America’s top rodeo riders in action. Before Disney farming was the main industry in this part of Florida and so there is a cowboy heritage here.
I was, and remain, a bit uncertain about the ethics of rodeo but on balance I thought there was probably more chance of cruelty to the riders than to the animals. I was impressed that they provided a wonderful experience for some children with special needs before the main programme started.
The programme started with a display of country dancing and singing.
The rodeo warm up item was provided by students from the rodeo school riding young bulls – apparently they have a training programme soon. Being smaller I thought the young bulls were even more difficult to stay on because they were so agile. They were also quite reluctant to get out of the ring, or perhaps they hadn’t learned where the exit gate was.
There were then a range of events: bull riding, which I thought was scary; bareback riding which seemed elegant in a dangerous sort of way; and Tie Down Roping, which seemed a bit tough on the calves but displayed impressive roping and strength from the cowboys. Overall you could not fail to be impressed with the skills and courage displayed by those competing during the afternoon. If you get hooked on rodeo you can watch it on television in the evenings and that does give you the advantage of slow motion replays. I have to confess that I didn’t grasp the intricacies of the scoring system where style and technique marks decide the competition.
The programme is kept going by a lively commentary and there are also comedy acts interspersed while events are set up. There was also an impressive horseback quadrille performed by the cowboys and cowgirls.
Now for the practicalities. It is held in the Silver Spurs Arena at the Osceola Heritage Park which is off the 192 just outside the Kissimmee Town Limits westbound. Tickets are available at the box office. A word of advice. You are not allowed to take food into the arena and the catering facilities are basic; hot dogs, beef burgers, and pizzas. So either eat before you go in or wait until it is over as there are plenty of places to eat on the 192.
Is it worth it? Yes! It is worth seeing at least once to appreciate the history of farming in America. Also local and national charities benefit from the rodeo, which is non-profit making.
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