Big Brian to lead charge

AN array of high quality stock will feature at this year's Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo, including the likes of feared pair Big Brian and Suicidal Blonde.

And it's all thanks to former Australian bull riding champion and Richmond based stock contractor, Darren Brandenburg, for the supply of bucking bulls to the biggest rodeo in the southern hemisphere.

He knows all eyes will be on his bucking bulls with names like Suicidal Blonde, Wild Thing and Big Brian.

"Big Brian is just one of the 120 bulls I currently own, but he has to be one of my favourites," Brandenburg said.

"At 900kg-plus, he is big and strong and has a lot of heart and is very athletic. He will be spectacular to watch."

Brandenburg, who was also a finalist in the World Bull Riding Championships held in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States, had a distinguished career on the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit before he turned to stock breeding. He has ridden the world-renowned bull Chainsaw a bone-crunching 13 times.

Now living on a 2000-hectare property with his wife Bridget and three boys, Brandenburg said he was looking forward to supplying stock to this year's Mount Isa rodeo.

"It's not about the money, it's about the fact we've been chosen for Mount Isa," he said.

"It's a pretty big honour."

Among his top stock also heading to the Isa will be Suicidal Blonde, a genetically bred bull whose father is Little Yellow jacket, a multiple PBR World Champion Bucking Bull in the US, recognised as one of the greatest bulls of all time - and Wild Thing, a former Australian bucking bull of the year and the champion bucking bull of the World Cup Series.

Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) general manager Steve Hilton said rodeo-goers were guaranteed to see the country's best bucking bulls and broncs in action.

Brandenburg said Mount Isa once again also had a strong line-up of horses including the current Australian bucking horse of the year Mandy's Boy, former bucking horse of the year Cheyenne Brave and current saddle bronc horse of the year Cheyenne Top Girl plus former saddle bronc horse of the year, Jane.

"You'll see good quality stock at Mount Isa, no doubt about it," he said.

"The competitors will have a good chance to qualify for the finals and have a run for a title."

Mount Isa's three days of rodeo competition, including bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback, steer wrestling, roping, ladies barrel racing and breakaway roping kicks off on Friday.

New this year will be "mini rodeos" - the rodeo equivalent of 20/20 cricket - with the top competitors putting on a fast-paced showcase of all the standard events on the Friday night, and on Saturday after lunch and at 7.30pm.

According to Mr Hilton, nominations were strong for this year's rodeo.

"The numbers are up in most events," he said.

"Around $200,000 in prizes (cash and buckles) is up for grabs in Australia's richest rodeo event."

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