Celebrating Florida's rich history as a cattle state
the adventures of a lifetime
The Annual Gathering and Auction was where the idea of hosting a cattle drive as a reenactment of the original cattle drives was first born, to celebrate Florida’s 150th birthday in 1995. A committee of approximately 25 people worked for two years to plan the first Great Florida Cattle Drive, which took 1,000 head of certified Cracker cattle 100 miles through Florida’s cow country. More than 600 riders, 600 horses and 25 wagons also made the journey, trying to stay as true as possible to the original cow hunter experience. Participants wore authentic clothing, slept on the ground under the stars each night and enjoyed the adventure of a lifetime. This endeavor also marked the formation of the Florida Cow Culture Preservation Committee.
In 2006, the committee planned hosted a second drive with 500 cattle and approximately 450 riders. This Great Florida Cattle Drive took a slightly different route, but just like the first drive in 1995, it ended at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee with a public celebration of the drive and Florida’s heritage as a cattle state.
The most recent Great Florida Cattle Drive was held in January 2016. Unlike the previous drives, this drive was not blessed with extraordinary weather; participants endured extremely wet and cold conditions. Nevertheless, another 500 head of cattle and some 450 riders from around the world, including a group of veterans from Wounded Warriors, finished the journey and made memories of a lifetime.
The 2016 drive also included a team of photographers and documentarians whose work culminated in the film “The Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circles” and a book by the same title.