Silver Spurs Rodeo is a family tradition in Kissimmee, and it returns for its 134th edition the weekend of February 20-22.
I recently had the chance to meet some of the people involved with the Silver Spurs Rodeo and tour the Silver Spurs Arena and its rodeo set-up.
I met several Rodeo Queens, including Whitney Hopkins – 2014 Miss Silver Spurs, Brighton Mick – 2014 Little Miss Silver Spurs, Sheila Shirah – 2015 Miss Rodeo Florida (who will represent Florida in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant in Las Vegas), and Sarah Taylor – 2014 Junior Miss Congeniality. They all were excited to be representing the rodeo as ambassadors for the sport. Several grew up around the rodeo, so it’s a way of life for them.
I also got a wonderful tour of the facilities by Big Boss Tim Shirah, who says Bareback Bronc Riding and Saddle Bronc Riding are his favorite events of the rodeo. He’s also excited at how technology and social media are bringing new fans to the sport.
During the tour, we were shown the chute where the competitors start out of, at one end of the arena. Our tour cowboy, Kamry Dymek, explained how in Steer Wrestling, aka bulldogging, the cowboy (aka bulldogger) starts behind a string barrier. The calves are given a 10 second head start, but if the bulldogger breaks through the barrier before that 10 seconds is up, they are given a 10 second penalty on their overall time.
Then we were shown the bull riding chutes, and I never realized how narrow they really were. The width was only a little more than the length of my arm. Shirah says its that way to keep the bulls on its feet and focused for what’s about to happen. He also explained how the cowboys have to keep themselves in top shape to avoid getting hurt during the rodeo events.
Walking around the Silver Spurs Arena, I have to say there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. It was also interesting to actually walk on the dirt floor, which has to be kept at a certain dampness. That way it’s hard enough for the animals to get a grip, but soft enough for the cowboys to land on without getting hurt. It felt like walking on damp sand at the beach.
Silver Spurs Rodeo is the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi, and is the work of the Silver Spurs Riding Club, an all-volunteer organization started in 1941 by Osceola County ranchers. They began the rodeo in 1944, selling war bonds as admission to raise funds for our military.
The Silver Spurs Rodeo keeps alive the tradition of giving back to the community. This year, for the first time, each night of the rodeo will be themed for a specific group:
Friday, February 20th at 7:30pm is Youth Night:
The rodeo is recognizing our amazing student athletes starting with the Osceola High School Football team who made it to the State Championship game and had an amazing 13-2 season. The rodeo will also be recognizing the top student athletes from all Osceola County schools in every kind of sport for their hard work and dedication.
Saturday, February 21st at 7:30pm is First Responder Night:
The rodeo is honoring first responders during the Saturday event. There will be a very special opening number on Saturday as well that you won’t want to miss!
Sunday, February 22nd at 2pm is Tough Enough to Wear Pink! Night:
The Silver Spurs organization will donate $1 for every ticket sold to the Florida Hospital Foundation to be used for breast cancer research, treatment and support. Show up and wear your best pink attire as they close out Rodeo Week.
Tickets for the rodeo are $15 per person, per night. Kids 10 and under are FREE when accompianied by a paying adult. Make a day of it and enjoy the Osceola County Fair next door.
For more information, or to purchase tickets in advance, visit silverspursrodeo.com.
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