Kissimmee, Florida, is well known mostly for its proximity to Orlando, and the plethora of oversized theme parks therein. Budget-conscious families typically come to Kissimmee to take advantage of the more affordable lodging, and take daily trips to Universal Studios Orlando, Walt Disney World and SeaWorld. But parents should notice something while they’re checking into their hotels; there’s lots going on right there in Kissimmee, too. The latest, greatest entry to the pack of Kissimmee activities is newsworthy: Kissemmee will be home to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo for the next ten years!
This is essentially a national championship, since many genuinely working cowboys don’t take the time off to go to Las Vegas for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The contestants are members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and compete in one of the 12 national circuits. Imagine seeing the best real cowboys from all over the United States — wherever there are regional rodeo competitions, anyway; any New York City rodeo champs you can imagine (this is amusing to imagine, by the way) will probably be unrepresented — converging at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida, to duke it out and see who is the year’s best regional rodeo cowboy. The four day event is family-friendly, fun, and fantastically different from all the long lines to see Hogwarts or get a photo with Mickey Mouse. The RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo is the real deal.
The RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo will be held March 25-28 this year. It’s a tournament in which each round eliminates contestants and brings the winners to the next qualifying round. The top eight are in the semifinals, and the top four in the final, sudden-death round that determines the national circuit champion for each of the four events.
Despite the wildly enthusiastic cheering crowds at each event, these are still authentic rodeo cowboys, not performers. The thrill of watching talent and hard work pay off cannot be underestimated; check out Medieval Times if you want actors on horses instead of real cowboys. Not to say there isn’t any pure fun to see at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo’s Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida — regular events at the Silver Spurs Arena include barrel racing, bronco riding, team roping, and the famous stay-on-a-bucking-bull-for-eight-seconds challenge. Rodeo clowns keep the little kids (and, well, some of us adults) laughing in between challenges. Categories for the actual Finals Rodeo are bareback, bull riding, barrel racing, tie down roping, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, team rope heading, and team rope heeling. Get this: the winners will share over one million dollars in cash and prizes!
This year, the four nights of the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo will each have their own theme:
- Wednesday: Latin Night
- Thursday: Faith and Family Night
- Friday: Military Night
- Saturday: Championship Night
There are some other, related, and as always family-friendly events affiliated with the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. They makes the four days chock-full of activities for visiting rodeo fans:
- Cattle drives
- Live country music concerts
- “Fan Zone” with fun and games
- Charity fashion show and luncheon
The first annual Florida Heritage Barbecue Classic, sanctioned by the amazing Kansas City Barbecue Society, with hundreds of competitor and plenty of barbecue on hand to try.
Kissimmee, Florida, is such a fun destination for family travel. The RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo fits right in with the culture of child-appropriate fun and festivities there. With tickets ranging from $15 to $35 for an evening at the competitions, this is also much more budget friendly than a lot of the other Central Florida attractions. Tickets can be bought for one day, or for all four days’ worth of the event.
Kissimmee is the right city for the rodeo, and the rodeo is the right event for Kissimmee. The next time you’re planning a March visit to Central Florida, be sure to check out the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. It’s just the authentic experience you need to balance out all the fantasy of the theme parks nearby.
This post is sponsored by Experience Kissimmee. All opinions, however, are my own.