The Silver Spurs Rodeo story began in 1941, when pioneering ranchers gathered in Tallahassee to ride in a parade honoring Florida's newly elected governor and received statewide attention for their impressive and entertaining riding skills. Now the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi, the Silver Spurs Rodeo is annually ranked as one of the top-50 events sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Ticket holders can check out eight different riding and roping events, all of which test a cowperson's strength, character, and readiness to be bested by an overly emotional beast and a dust-covered clown. In the dangerous and exciting bull-riding event, riders attempt to ride a bucking bull for eight seconds, and tough and talented cowgirls participate in barrel-racing competitions, in which each contestant rides at full speed around large barrels, making sure to hit the electronic clock upon entering and exiting. Eyes can also feast on quadrille performances, which can best be described as square dancing on horseback. Watch couples dressed in fanciful costumes seated atop prancing horses that weave in and out of different formations to create eye-pleasing patterns while kicking up dust piles that resemble John Wayne.
What began in 1990 as the gymnastics and dance company of competitive athlete and Broadway dancer Christopher Harrison has evolved into something of a worldwide phenomenon. AntiGravity Orlando's staff members are some of the same athletes and acrobats who soar over audiences with the AntiGravity theater group, and who appear in high-profile celebrity musical acts and Hollywood productions. Current director Daniel Stover's work, for example, was featured in the 2012 movie Step Up Revolution, for which he choreographed a scene in which AntiGravity Orlando dancer-athletes vertically scale a wall using bungee cords.
These performers practice and share their knowledge of the aerial arts in an impressive facility, which boasts equipment that is the stuff of sports performers' dreams. It includes a wall-running track suspended 40 feet in midair, which allows athletes to scale the walls, do flips, and easily dust away ceiling cobwebs. The trampoline staircase puts extra pep in climbers' steps, as do custom-enhanced AntiGravity boots that act as jumping stilts and gravity-defying silk hammocks, specialty harnesses, and an aerial cube. In the dance and gymnastics studio, students bounce on competition-style mats and flooring, whereas an outdoor conditioning field helps boot campers get fit, and a pole-dance fitness studio invites people to strut their sultry stuff.
Nestled in the shadows of ancient oaks and towering cypress trees, Kissimmee Bay Country Club's 18-hole course takes golfers through 6,486 yards of fairways and greens lined with serene water hazards. In total, the course features a dozen ponds that come into play on nearly every hole, challenging players to try forced carries and other crafty shots. The verdant course also peppers a dash of wildlife into rounds, as sand hill cranes are often spotted along the fairways and waterways. Before taking to the course, golfers can warm up their swings at the driving range or motivate golf balls by showing them how easily they can be replaced at the pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
Orlando, located in the center of Florida, is known for its near-perfect sunny weather and reputation as the center of all things Disney. Theme parks, rides, and restaurants sit a short shuttle ride away from the hotel, and just steps from its door, Downtown Disney's pedestrian-only streets proffer themed eateries, live performers, unique souvenir stores, and a space for mermaids to learn to walk on human legs. Outside of the park, there's plenty of outdoor activities to satisfy adventurers: kayaking day trips on Lake Buena Vista and Lake Bryan, golfing at any of the courses in the area, or discovering South Florida's exotic flora and fauna at nearby sanctuaries and alligator parks.