R ollins Ranch Blue Cypress is less than an hours drive from Melbourne, Florida, the site where the Spanish Conquistador, Ponce de Leon, first landed in April 1513. He named the land "La Florida", which is Spanish for flowery.
In 1521, Ponce de Leon and the colonists accompanying him on his exploration began to settle on the land and brought domesticated animals including dogs, horses, hogs, and cattle. It is thought that this breed of cattle was a Spanish breed called Andalusian. During the second exploration, the colonists were attacked by native Calusa Indians and forced to retreat to Cuba. Many of their supplies and livestock were abandoned during the retreat. These animals roamed free throughout this area of Florida for many years. By the early 1600s, other colonists began to settle. These pioneers, as well as the local Native American tribes, began to develop herds of these cattle and also hunted those left in the wild.
The culture and idea of the American Cowboy began during this time. Florida ranchers, hunters, and horsemen have all contributed to the development of the unique image of an American Cowboy. These traditions were created around the present towns of Arcadia, Okeechobee, and Yeehaw Junction, which is two miles south of our ranch.
Rollins Ranch Blue Cypress was first founded as a cattle ranch. Superior breeders were imported from all over the country in order to establish a successful cattle operation. The Rollins family has shown significant success in cattle farming throughout the years and currently ranches over 14,000 head of cattle on the Florida ranches.
The traditions of herding were passed from generation to generation and eventually spanned the entire United States. Although the Cowboy image is popularly associated with the western United States, its persona is deeply rooted in the history of Florida and in the areas surrounding Rollins Ranch Blue Cypress.