Silver Spurs Rodeo
The Silver Spurs Rodeo is a rodeo held twice per year in Kissimmee, Florida. During the late 1980s, it was one of the fifty largest rodeos in the United States, and is billed as the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi River. Since 1994, it has been the official state rodeo of Florida.
In 1941, the Silver Spurs Riding Club was formed in Kissimmee. In 1944, at the height of World War II, the Riding Club sponsored a rodeo to encourage local citizens to purchase war bonds. The first rodeo was held on July 4, 1944, and in 1951, a February event was added to the calendar. The February rodeo is important enough to the region's self-image that it is a school holiday (for teachers and for students) throughout the county.
The first rodeo was held on land donated by a local resident; in 1949, the Riding Club bought a 15-acre parcel of land (to which they added an additional 7.5 acres the following year), and built a stadium, stands, and a concession area. In 2003, the club built a new indoor stadium, the Silver Spurs Arena, which features luxury seats and bar service.
During the late 1980s, the rodeo was one of the fifty largest rodeos in the United States, with a purse of approximately US$60,000. By 2005, however, attendance at had dropped slightly, and as of 2009, the purse had declined to approximately $50,000. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association does not list the Silver Spur Rodeo in their top 50 rodeo listing for 2009. As the demographics of the region change, with more Hispanic residents moving into the area, the rodeo has moved to increase its appeal to the new residents; it held its first Latin rodeo in 2005, weaving salsa and hip-hop music into its traditional events.
- "Rodeo Purse Rises At Kissimmee Silver Spurs". Orlando Sentinel. February 1988. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Jacobson, Susan (February 18, 2005). "Back in the Saddle: Even As Osceola County Changes Dramatically, Cracker Cowboy Culture Goes On, Epitomized By Silver Spurs.". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- "Florida Statutes, Title IV, 15.0391 Official state rodeo". The Florida Legislature. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Byrd, Alan (February 24, 1997). "Silver Spurs Rodeo: Riding high after 53 years". Orlando Business Journal. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Carroll, Frank (February 14, 1988). "Silver Spurs Rodeo Rides On Tradition". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Abbott, Jim (January 11, 2010). "A bargain to see bucking broncs at Silver Spurs Rodeo". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Berlincke, Jeff (February 20, 2004). "Silver Spurs Rodeo Back At Kissimmee". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Pedone, Rick (June 5, 2009). "Silver Spurs Rodeo takes center stage at Heritage Park tonight and Sunday". Osceola News-Gazette. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- "Top 50 2009 Rodeos by committee purse" (PDF). Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. p. 254. Retrieved May 20, 2011.