HISTORY OF THE HOMESTEAD RODEO
"For seventy-four years the Homestead Rodeo has been a major part of the tradition and culture in The City of Homestead. It is recognized as one of the oldest annual professional sporting events in Miami-Dade County."
A HOMESTEAD TRADITION
The first-ever Homestead Rodeo was held at Municipal Park on
November 11, 1949, and was sponsored by the Elks Lodge.
The Homestead Rodeo Association was formed in 1952 by 17
local businessmen who shared a love of horses and the
excitement of the sport of rodeo. The new HRA presented its
first rodeo in March 1952. That November, the rodeo was held
in a new permanent rodeo arena, five-acre tract just southeast of
the ball fields leased from South Dade Farms.
Early on HRA held twice a year rodeos, with members financing
the organization out of their own pockets, but in the mid-fifties
switched to once a year and things began to prosper. The rodeo
arena where you sit today was first used in 1958 and was dedicated to the former mayor as Tom J. Harris Field in 1960. It sits on grounds of what was once the old Homestead City Airport. Through the sixties, the rodeo attracted major crowds and was hosted by television stars of the day.
The rodeo successfully continued though the early to mid-seventies then ran into financial difficulties, but the members regrouped and reorganized to become successful once again. In 1989, the rodeo arena was re-dedicated as the “Doc” DeMilly Rodeo Arena in memory of the late HRA president Dr. John W. “Doc” DeMilly who was tragically murdered in 1985.
Hurricane Andrew changed Homestead history forever on August 24, 1992. The rodeo grounds were destroyed HRA members worked hard to rebuild and rise from the destruction that gripped South Dade. The Southernmost Continental US rodeo was back in 1994, skipping only one rodeo.
We are proud to remain one of the oldest annual professional sporting events and the only PRCA sanctioned rodeo in Miami-Dade County. Through the years thanks to dedicated members, volunteers & the support of our sponsors; the HRA continues its mission of promoting the sport of rodeo and other equestrian activities for the benefit of the Greater Homestead/Florida City community; developing and supporting our youth through these activities