The Mount Isa Mines Rodeo moved online to broadcast Australia's first virtual Rodeo on Saturday night.
Mount Isa Mines Rodeo CEO Natalie Flecker said the 2020 Mount Isa Mines Rodeo livestreamed via its website for three hours from 6pm.
"We may not have the roar of the crowd this year but we're keeping it alive for the competitors, the fans, our sponsors and partners and all the volunteers and people behind the scenes," Ms Flecker said.
The Open Bull Ride was arguably the standout event, attracting an incredible field with 2015 Australian Bull Riding Champion and PBR Finals qualifier Troy Wilkinson placing first with an 88 point ride, narrowly defeating Aaron Kleier, the 2019 PBR Bull Riding Champion on 87 points, with Lachlan Richardson, a former PBR World Bull Riding qualifier in the United States on 85.5 points.
Open Bareback Champion is Dave Worsfold (4-time Australian Bareback Champion and 4-time Mount Isa Mines Rodeo Bareback Champion); Open Saddlebronc Champion is Lachlan Miller.
Maddix Lovett took out two buckles, winning the Rope Tie and Team Roping with Shane Iker, a multi Australian Champion in timed events. The Steer Wrestling Champion is Darcy Kersh.
The Barrel Race was won by Texas-based Shea Fisher-Durfey, who entered her ride recorded in the States. Breakaway Roping Champion is Ariana Varischetti. Cloncurry cowboy Cade Ferguson took out three events - Junior Barrel Race, Junior Breakaway and Poddy Calf Ride. Second Div Champions are Cody Gibbons (2 nd Divi Bull Ride); Zac Mansfield (2nd Div Bareback) and William Reynolds (2nd Div Saddle Bronc). The Over 40s Bull Ride Champion is David Leake and Junior Bull Ride Champion is Lleyton Brown.
Ms Flecker said the rodeo attracted just under 100 nominations in all 16 events, including Open, 2nd Division and Junior from Australia's top rodeo athletes plus some international rides, including Jamie Howlett, currently ranked 3 in the world in bareback riding who sent in a ride recorded at the Fort Worth Stock Show in Texas.
"A massive thank you to the competitors who sent in their videos and competed to win the cash and a very real buckle," she said. "The reality is there won't be the roar of the crowd or a victory lap in the arena but you will be part of Isa Rodeo history and our Champions for 2020."
Ms Flecker said the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo was one of the few events that had been able to deliver in the online space.
"I want to pay tribute to our valued sponsors, including our Naming Rights and Foundation Partner, Mount Isa Mines," she said. "Without their support, we would not have been able to make this concept a reality. We are very clear about our purpose - to stay connected to our rodeo competitors, our rodeo fans and supporters and to make sure travelling to the 2021 Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is part of everyone's travel priorities next year."
The Virtual Rodeo featured a mix of rodeo action (from videos sent in by competitors), interviews with rodeo champions, stunning Outback Queensland scenery and live performances by three favourite live acts, Lee Kernaghan, Nashville-based O'Shea and Casey Barnes.
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