The 2016 Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo attracted its highest number of visitors in its long history, with almost 24,000 rodeo fans through the gates.
Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo Inc Chair Darren Campi said the event also paid $65,000 to local community groups over the weekend for their invaluable help to run the rodeo.
Mr Campi said rodeo visitors were up more than five per cent compared to 2015, with 23,943 people attending the event, which was fully ticketed for the first time.
“When you add in the Friday night mardi gras, our numbers were just under 34,000,” he said.
“After months and months of organisation, it is certainly a great feeling to know more people than ever are attending our event.”
Mr Campi said 2016 was the first year that the Isa Rodeo had been granted Major Event status by the State Government and Tourism and Events Queensland.
The rodeo also proved to be a draw card for visitors outside of the region with a quarter of all visitors travelling from interstate as well as Townsville, Brisbane and Toowoomba.
“The Government’s support of, and belief in the event has been justified with the increase in overall visitation, in particular our growing interstate market,” he said.
Mr Campi said a visitor survey conducted during the 2016 rodeo found more than 65 per cent of attendees were repeat visitors with 66 per cent having attended five or more rodeos.
“In continued challenging economic times, we are very proud of these results as it is a vote of confidence that we are putting on an event that is growing and improving and giving people a reason to come back year after year,” he said.
Mr Campi said it was very satisfying for MIRRI to contribute $65,000 back to local not-for-profit community groups who helped run the event over rodeo weekend.
The introduction of fully ticketing the event was also clearly vindicated by the number of arrests, which dropped dramatically from 39 in 2015 to just four, of which half were warrants, according to Mr Campi.
“It was made clear during planning that the emergency services wanted to have more control over the whole rodeo precinct,” he said.
“The only way to do this was to fully ticket the event and the extremely low number of arrests compared to previous years speaks for itself, that safety and security has definitely been improved for our patrons. We have now created a very safe event for families to attend.”
The introduction of a double story marquee (the Jack Daniel’s Rodeo Lounge) was a new initiative for the 2016 event, and would return in 2017.
“We have already started serious planning for next year’s event and are looking forward to building on the foundations of this year’s success,” said Mr Campi.
The 2017 Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo will be held August 11-13, 2017.