While most people recognize Florida for its tropical weather, theme parks, and beaches, there’s a whole other side to the Sunshine State. For many longtime residents in Osceola County, they’ve grown up with traditions like the Silver Spurs Rodeo and where ranching wasn’t just riding horses, it was a way of life and brought people together. In 1941, the Silver Spurs Riding Club was founded by ranching families that had a passion for horsemanship and friendship. Although the organization was founded in 1941, the founding families passed the Club’s stories, values, and traditions on to their children, to pass on to their children, and so on. For members like Kathy Baker, the Silver Spurs Riding Club represents something bigger than just tradition, but more of an heirloom of her family’s history in Osceola County.
Born in Kissimmee to Geech and Connie Partin, Kathy shared some of her favorite memories growing up in the Club with us.
“Growing up as a kid with the Silver Spurs was always a lot of fun. But one of my favorite memories had to be all the playdates we had as kids… One moment that sticks out to me is we had this game where we would each try to climb up this greased pole to win $5, and of course, I tried it! I ruined my shirt, but memories like that really mean a lot to me.”
The thing Kathy treasures the most about growing up in the Silver Spurs Club isn’t the big names that come to compete in the rodeo or the prize money, but the uniqueness of carrying on a tradition and organization that her parents helped start.
“My dad was so funny… He would ride his horse in front of the big exclusive stores in Downtown Orlando and just was a character. I mean, that’s the way our life was. If you ask Barbara [Partin Marshall], Martha [Partin Booth], or Becky [Partin Kempfer], or any of ’em, they would all tell you the same thing. You had the rodeo in February and the rodeo in July, and we never went on a vacation. I think the first rodeo I missed was the year I graduated high school.”
While she was heavily involved in the Silver Spurs Rodeo, competing in women’s barrel racing and riding with the Silver Spurs Quadrille Team, it wasn’t until 1973 that Kathy became an official Silver Spurs member. When Kathy got older, she and her first husband would come up with a system to better catalog her family’s cattle based on their breed, whether they were pregnant, and if they had received their shots. With her experience running this cattle database for a few years, it was a natural transition for Kathy to receive her rodeo secretary license so she could keep records of the Silver Spurs Rodeo contestants. To this day, you can spot Kathy at every Silver Spurs Rodeo near the announcers’ booth with a stopwatch, pen, and paper to mark the rodeo competitors’ scores.
Join the Silver Spurs Riding Club for their biggest week of the year, kicking off on Saturday, February 10th, 2018 with Monster Bulls at 7:30pm, and the Silver Spurs Rodeo the following weekend, February 16 & 17, 2018 at 7:30pm and February 18, 2018 at 2:00pm. Both action-packed events are held in the Silver Spurs Arena at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee.