Join us for the 20th Annual Junior Cypress Cattle Drive on Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation March 19, 2016. Ride along on your horse, on a Billie Swamp Safari Swamp Buggy or just bring your own chair and watch the excitement from the road-side. Spectators are always free or join the herd and ride in the Cattle Drive, $50 for adults, $25 children 7-12 and 6 in under is Free. Your choice of buggy seat or your horse. The Honorary Trail Boss for 2016 is Bert Frasier, surviving family members and community members reminisce on memories and tales of. Bring the family. Kids Rodeo Friday Night & EIRA Rodeo Saturday. Overnight accommodations available. (863) 902-3200
March 29, 1997, the 1st Annual Seminole Cattle Drive was held in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Junior Cypress Rodeo.
Moses Jumper Jr, Paul Bowers Sr, Richard Bowers, were the originators of the Junior Cypress Trail Drive.
The re-creation began as an idea from Moses Jumper, a cattleman and former Director of the Seminole Recreation Department. He mentioned the idea to Paul Bowers, a Cattleman himself. He in turn mentioned the idea to his brother, Richard Bowers, at the time a Chairman of the Big Cypress Cattle Committee.
For Moses Jumper Jr, Paul Bowers Sr, and Richard Bowers, inspiration for the Cattle Drive came from the Florida Cattle Drive that took place in the ‘90s, re-enacting the old cattle drives that happened in the northern and central Florida area years ago.
Natives often bartered cattle with Immigrants, and they traded cattle with Spaniards as far back as the 1600’s.
“We wanted to hold some event that would make people remember the impact Junior Cypress had on the Tribe,” Paul Bowers, Former Board Representative said in explaining the symbolic drive.
“This annual cattle drive was started in memory of my uncle, Junior Cypress,” said Former Tribal Chairman Mitchell Cypress. “Cattle ranching was his business 24 hours a day. When I think of him, I see him on the back of a horse with his hat pulled down, sheltering his eyes from the sun or driving around the Rez with a pickup truck load of kids, heading for the cow pens or the swimming hole.
Junior Cypress was the foreman for the Big Cypress Cattle Program for over 30 years who also worked as a cowhand for the neighboring Ranches(McDaniels, Hull & Hendry ) in his younger days. His contribution and lifelong dedication to the cattle program are remembered through this event and the dedication of the Rodeo Complex in his name.
Each year new faces join the crowd, but the number of people who are making the cattle drive a tradition has increased dramatically. Participant Julio Catala said “He and his favorite mule hadn’t missed a year on the trail.”
Each year one of the Elders is selected as “Honorary Trail Boss”
While Cattle is the first Tribal industry, the Seminoles have expanded in many directions while preserving their independence and prospering in the highly competitive world of the 21st Century.