Florida is the oldest cattle ranching state in the United States. And Osceola County’s heritage is tied to being a ranching community.
In the early 1900s, heads of cattle were as common to see in the downtown Kissimmee area as people. Wandering cows were once kept in a pen by the old courthouse in Kissimmee until their owners claimed them.
What was old will become new again on March 30 at 3pm during the sixth annual RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo Cattle Drive.
The drive, part of an afternoon of celebration in downtown, bridges the gap between Osceola County’s ranching history, where rodeos came from among ranch hands who wanted to compete against each other to see who was the bravest and most talented on a bucking horse, bull or steer, to the RNCFR, which annually brings the best of the best cowboys in each rodeo event from the country’s 12 professional regions to town.
The cattle drive occurs the Monday before the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which this year is April 3-4 at the Silver Spurs Arena. At 4 p.m, area ranchers, local dignitaries and County Commissioners will saddle up and ride horseback, leading a couple dozen head of cattle right down Broadway, starting in the courtyard in front of the Courthouse and Administration Building and ending on Sproule Avenue. A street party and Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours on Dakin Avenue south of Broadway will follow the cattle drive to extend the celebration until 6 p.m.
So come to downtown Kissimmee on March 30 at 3pm and see something you don’t see every day — unless you were around these parts over 100 years ago.