Ham Brown shares his fondness for Silver Spurs Rodeo and what it takes to raise cattle
Driving through some parts of Osceola County, away from the theme parks and shopping malls, you’ll see ranch land for miles that make up some of the country’s largest cattle operations, rodeo elements on the sidewalks in our historic downtown, and roads named after ranching families or influencers. While most people drive down Ham Brown Road to go home or to Horizon Middle School, they may not realize that the man named after the road happens to still live off it. We’d like to introduce you to the man himself and help him share his story of growing up in Kowtown, his involvement with the Silver Spurs Club, and his love for cattle.
As we tend to share over and over again, ranching played a huge part in setting the foundation for the city of Kissimmee, putting it on the map with ranching families’ cattle businesses, just like Ham’s. Dating back to the 1800s, Ham’s family roots can be traced back to raising cattle, even on the land where he lives now. Born and raised in Kissimmee, Ham has spent all his life raising cattle in Kissimmee, learning how to take care and herd them from his grandfather and dad since he was a toddler.
“One of my fondest memories was back in the ’40s, me, my daddy, grandpa, Irlo Bronson and Mac Overstreet worked about 500 to 600 cattle all the way from Kissimmee up road 27 to the open range fields of Clermont,” Ham remembers.
With a love for ranching and animals like no other, it wouldn’t be long until Ham got into rodeo. Starting at 13, Ham got into bull riding (thanks to Pete Clemons) and was a bulldogger for years, while also volunteering his time at the Silver Spurs Rodeo. Then, when Ham turned 21 in 1957, he joined the Silver Spurs Riding Club. With his experience and love for working with animals, Ham started off working with the Silver Spurs’ rough stock and the calves and steers, loading them through the chutes for each event. Because of his devotion to the Club and the Silver Spurs Rodeo, it wouldn’t be long before Ham was named Big Boss in the 1970s, which was a chance to oversee running the rodeo he loved so much.
“Being Big Boss was such a huge honor and I can’t take all the credit for running the Club that year. I’m thankful that I had old timers like Pete Hunt, Cicero Knechel, Pat Johnson, Slim Partin and other members that helped me along the way with running the organization, ranching and putting on a great rodeo.”
Recognized as a Coca-Cola Cowboy in 2002, Ham and his wife, Jackie, spend most of their days on the ranch working cattle, but still remain active members in the Club.