138th Silver Spurs Rodeo brings out families, critics

By Stephanie Bechara, Osceola County Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017

An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people showed up for the 138th Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee over the weekend.

  • 138th Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee
  • Events include bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping

Spectators checked out events like steer wrestling, tie-down roping and bull riding, among other things. 

The admission to the first Silver Spurs Rodeo back in the 1940s was a war bond, a fundraiser for World War II.

Ricky Booth, who participates in the rodeo with his family every year, says that’s how the organization's dedication to serve began. “We’re not here today to make money for us,” Booth said. “We’re here today to engage with our community, to support our community.” 

While thousands attended the rodeo this weekend, a small group of people say there are more humane ways of entertainment.

“They want you to buy the show that these are fearsome animals and that these are brave and bold cowboys,” said Bryan Wilson, the coordinator for Animal Rights Foundation of Central Florida. “When really it’s just cowards and pain these animals are reacting to. And it really is cruelty in an organized fashion.”

Silver Spurs officials say they’ve got in-house veterinarians around the clock in case any animals are injured.

“These animals only see action two to three times a year,” said this year’s Silver Spurs Big Boss Gary Ketchum. “The rest of the time they’re at a Spurs property down in Kenansville and they’ve got about 1,700 acres they just mosey around on and have a good time. They’re athletes.”

Booth’s sister Ashley Fluke says she believes in the Silver Spurs and can’t wait to pass down this tradition to her children someday.

“We will all be a part of this organization until we physically cannot be,” Fluke added. “It means a lot to us. We believe in its impact on the community.”

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations have been made by the Silver Spurs  since 1941. 

The rodeo is referred to as the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi.