The Silver Spurs Riding Club was formed in 1941. They quickly became popular in the region and across the state of Florida. The Spurs were known for their exceptional skill and riding tricks, especially the Quadrille, a square dance performed on horseback.
In the early 1940s, the Spurs began work on their first arena. The club hand crafted the original open air stadium on the Henry Partin Ranch at Kings Highway and SR 525 (now Neptune Road). The first rodeo was held on July 4, 1944, and quickly grew in popularity, that by 1949, the Spurs purchased 15 acres of land off Highway 192, and a new arena was built. On July 4, 1950, the new outdoor arena held its first rodeo, and in February of the following year, the first mid-winter rodeo began.
By the late 1980s, the Silver Spurs Rodeo was one of the top 50 rodeos in the United States, and was “the biggest rodeo east of the Mississippi”. In 1994, it became the official rodeo of the state of Florida. By 1999, it became apparent that the rodeo needed a larger stadium, and in March 2002, demolition of the old historic outdoor arena began.
The doors of the state-of-the-art indoor arena opened on the grounds of the newly dedicated Osceola Heritage Park in October 2003. The new arena offers a multi-purpose space for sporting events, concerts and much more. In 2005, the first Latin rodeo was held, and in 2011, the Silver Spurs Rodeo celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Today, the Silver Spurs Riding Club boasts a membership of 361 individuals, 45 of which are club founders. All members are still involved with the Rodeo as well as being important members of the local community.
Sources: Silver Spurs website, Silver Spurs programs, Anza Bast, Silver Spurs Wikipedia page
Photos: Silver Spurs program, OCHS photo collection, Michael D. Bast postcard collection