Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Cattle drive shows off Osceola’s rich ranching history

The only thing missing from the parade that went down Emmett Street and Broadway in downtown Kissimmee Monday were the marching bands. No worries, a solo performer belted out some old country favorites at the end of the cattle drive that signaled the beginning of another rodeo week in Osceola County. The county, home to a rich ranching and rodeo heritage, welcomes back the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, the second-biggest event put on by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, for the second time. The event begins Thursday and lasts through Sunday’s coronation of champions at the Silver Spurs Arena. As part of last year’s rodeo lead-in, some of the county’s ranching families joined to move some cows across U.S. Highway192 over to the Silver Spurs Arena. This year, they were joined by local dignitaries who climbed horses, joined by “Trail Boss” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who led two dozen heads of cattle from the county administration complex through the downtown district to a field near the Kissimmee Intermodal Center. A sizeable crowd, many of them municipal employees decked out in their best cowboy and cowgirl duds, gathered around as ranchers brought the cattle and the horses to the lawn, muttering things like “You don’t see this every day,” and, “No where else in the country will you see this.” Curious onlookers gathered along Broadway for the ride, which ended with an after party on Dakin Avenue that lasted deep into the afternoon. The afternoon’s festivities are part of an effort to boost the fan experience and make the RNCFR a signature event. “It’s great that the cattle ranch families were a big part of this. It was a great community event,” said Kelly Trace, part of the county’s marketing team for the RNCFR. “The city of Kissimmee approved the road closure to do it, and nobody with the city could remember a time when heads of cattle roamed downtown.”...more

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