Suhls Rodeo — the “greatest rodeo on dirt” — is open again.
Late owner Gary Suhl first opened the Kissimmee rodeo venue in 1992 with regularly scheduled rodeos and seating for about 200 guests. From 1992 through 2016, the venue saw some of the best contestants get their start. Cowboys and athletes made it to the PBR and the PRCA — and some even made it to the national finals in Las Vegas.
Gary passed away in July 2017 and Suhls Rodeo closed temporarily. Gary’s son, Jed Suhl, wanted to keep his father’s dream alive, and continue the tradition of rodeo in their hometown. So, this March, Suhls Rodeo reopened its doors to Kissimmee with weekly rodeo entertainment.
“Kissimmee’s got a long history of cowboys,” said Jed. “Dad built the place to continue that tradition of turning out cowboys from Kissimmee and Florida.” And Jed wanted to do the same.
As a former participant in steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding, Jed said he loves seeing the next generation come up and hopes to see more cowboys make it to the big leagues.
Suhls Rodeo’s weekly events include bull riding, trick riding and barrel racing by athletes across the nation — plus a calf scramble and trick roping by third-generation cowboy Trevor Dreher.
“My parents raised and raced quarter horses, and my granddad was a cowboy as well,” said Dreher. “Early on, around 11 years old, my mom spun a little flat loop with a piggin’ string (which is a short piece of rope used for calf roping). That simple trick that she taught me intrigued me enough to teach myself, through the course of approximately two years, everything that you witness in my shows today.”
By age 15, Dreher was booking trick roping acts at rodeos, fairs and festivals — and at age 20 he earned the “Trick Roper of the Year” world title. Now, guests can see Dreher perform weekly at Suhls Rodeo.
“For me, to be just a small part of the Suhls Rodeo history is quite satisfying,” Dreher continued.
Jed said one of the best parts about operating a weekly rodeo is the amount of new faces he gets to see every week.
“We have a lot of international tourists. We get a lot of fresh faces,” he said. “And I enjoy asking before the show how many people have been to a rodeo by a show of hands. And I tell them it’s my job to make them rodeo fans by the end of the night.”
So when the show is over, Jed asks the crowd if they’ve become rodeo fans.
“If I get a big applause, it makes me feel good,” he said.
Suhls Rodeo is located at 1010 Suhls Lane in Kissimmee. The venue seats 800 guests and offers a 2,000-square-foot Western saloon with food and beverages available for purchase, plus live music throughout the night. There is also a concession stand and Western gift shop.
Rodeo performances are every Friday night at 8 p.m., from March through October.
For more information about Suhls Rodeo, performances, admission and more, visit suhlsrodeo.com or call 407-933-0020.