Mount Isa Rodeo is big business

TOP CLASS: This year's Diamond anniversary Mount Isa Rodeo was the largest yet. Photo: Derek Barry
TOP CLASS: This year's Diamond anniversary Mount Isa Rodeo was the largest yet. Photo: Derek Barry

Caravan Parks are overflowing, ‘Swag City’ bookings have doubled from last year’s event and Platinum and Gold reserved seating were sold out weeks ahead of the largest Mount Isa Rodeo in history.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones was there to officially open the rodeo on Friday night said events like the Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo were an important part of the outback’s $573 million tourism industry.

“The Isa Rodeo is an iconic Queensland event which now attracts around 15,000 people who spend more than $8 million each year,” Ms Jones said.

The Isa Rodeo is an iconic Queensland event which now attracts around 15,000 people who spend more than $8 million each year

Kate Jones

With visitors to Queensland looking for something different, Mount Isa has unique experiences in spades.”

Ms Jones said they were working hard to publicise these experiences in key tourism markets overseas. 

“We expect strong numbers at the Isa Rodeo this year. This is a testament to the fact that our work is paying off,” she said.

The 2018 event will also be Australia’s first rodeo to offer competitors the opportunity to qualify for the World Champions Rodeo Alliance $500,000 semi-finals in Oklahoma in November 2018 thanks to a new partnership between Professional Bull Riders Australia and WCRA.

Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo General Manager Natalie Flecker said this opportunity for locals to compete at international level builds on the partnerships the Isa Rodeo has created with US-based trade partners and media.

“The event has been supported by Mount Isa Mines from its inception in 1959 and has grown to become the largest rodeo in the southern hemisphere, attracting more than 600 competitors from around Australia and overseas and offering $230,000 in prize money and buckles,” Ms Flecker said.

Among the innovations this year was an international competition between the eight Rodeo discipline winners and their American counterparts which fittingly ended in a 4-4 draw.

On Thursday the Isa Rodeo Hall of Fame was opened at Outback at Isa where it was announced the Rodeo would be called the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo with Glencore as sole naming sponsor for the next five years..