The North West Star is a proud sponsor of the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo and we love seeing how the event has gone from strength to strength over the years.
The addition of the North American challenge last year added more glamour to what was a great weekend and cements the rodeo as a truly national and indeed, international, event.
Along with the Mount Isa City Council Isa Street Festival on Wednesday and the Mount Isa Race Club's Mailman Express on Thursday, it has become a five-day festival highlighting the best our city and our region has to offer at a time of year when our weather is second to none.
That is not to say the rodeo can not be improved and I do like the way the organising committee take on board suggestions each year for things that could be better.
This year the main fuss beforehand was caused by the axing of competitor Courtney Gray, a story broken by North West Star journalist Samantha Walton.
Ms Gray had nominated in the ladies barrel race however a few days before the event she took to Facebook to vent outrage about gate prices stating $45 a day and $50 for Saturday was "completely over the top".
"No wonder why they never have any locals there watching cause we would have to make $1000 a day just to be able to go," she said.
It's an opinion that many share in town and her post attracted a lot of attention - including from the Isa Rodeo which withdrew her nomination, a decision backed by rodeo peak body APRA.
I'm sympathetic to Courtney's complaint and I understand that it can be hard for local families to afford to go, but we really need to understand exactly what attendees are getting for their money.
A day pass allows access for well over 12 hours of action, including watching the best rodeo competitors in the southern hemisphere - plus international stars - and also gets admission to the concerts (Friday and Saturday) featuring top Australian acts.
When looked at in this context, the $45 is a bit of a bargain. But I accept it can be hard on local families and maybe, like some of the airlines, the Rodeo might consider a "residents fare" scheme next time round. Derek Barry