If the dirt of the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo could talk
Can you imagine the stories the dirt inside our arena could tell? A strange concept to think about, but man, it sure would be interesting. Our dirt just might recall when the two-time reigning PRCA world champion Tim O’ Connell took home the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo title in 2017, or perhaps when Mandy Harvey, St. Cloud resident and participant on America’s Got Talent performed the national anthem at the 141st Silver Spurs Rodeo.
Over the years we have hosted a total of 148 rodeos on the grounds at Osceola Heritage Park between the Silver Spurs Rodeo and the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Since the arena was re-constructed in 2003, we have hosted 24 rodeos on the same dirt between the Silver Spurs Rodeo and the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Did you know the dirt we use for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo is over 16 years old, and it’s recycled each year?
Now, that being said, each year some new dirt gets added to the mix. Over time, it’s been moved so much that we need to add to our “sandbox.” For each rodeo, we contract a company to load the dirt onto the arena floor. From there, the dirt is laid, creating a thick dirt pad approximately two feet deep or more. Once the dirt is laid, the dirt is worked using a large tractor that essentially churns the dirt by using a drag, which is a piece of farming equipment that churns the dirt. This helps work the dirt into the condition needed for competition. Then, a water truck is brought in to spray the dirt, helping to create more of a clay-like texture. Once the watering is complete, a tractor comes back into the arena to work the dirt again, making sure it’s just right or near perfect for the first big buck of the rodeo performance! Who knew how precious our dirt really is!
The entire load-in process for the rodeo dirt takes about twelve hours to get it in the facility. Many staff-hours are spent making sure everyone involved does their best to get this process done efficiently and correctly. Once the dirt load-in process is complete, prior to the start of a rodeo, the PRCA official judges will come and inspect the dirt to be sure it’s appropriate for the rodeo competition. If they happen to see anything wrong or that could be harmful to the contestants or the animals, they won’t allow the rodeo to take place. This is a safety precaution taken for everyone involved in the event. Safety first!
Who knew our dirt has this unique story! Maybe next time you visit the Silver Spurs Arena, you can share this fun fact with your family and friends! You might even be wearing a little if you sit close enough to all the action. Typically, the dirt flies like crazy when the ladies race into the arena for the barrel racing competition. We don’t have a splash zone, but I guess you can call it the dirt flying zone!