Two Mount Isa rodeos have been recognised as amongst the best tourist attractions in the state at the prestigious Queensland Tourism Awards.
Held at the Cairns Convention Centre last Friday, the awards recognise the outstanding achievements of the state's tourism industry.
The incredible double win for Isa Rodeo Limited included gold for the 2022 Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships in the Festivals and Events Category, and silver for the 2022 Mount Isa Mines Rodeo in the Major Festivals and Events Category.
Winning gold was a major achievement for the Indigenous Rodeo, held for only the first time in 2022.
The Queensland Tourism Industry Council praised the event for the win in it's inaugural year.
"Designed to bring communities together and to give greater visibility to many talented First Nations athletes, the Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships are riding off into the sunset with gold tonight!" the council said.
The event was produced as a partnership between Isa Rodeo Limited, Mona Aboriginal Corporation and Malkarri Cultural Centre Limited, and aimed to galvanise the interest in rodeo from Indigenous competitors and showcase bush skills from indigenous cowboys, cowgirls, stockmen and stockwomen. It provides indigenous athletes access and information on the pathways available to progress their skills and potential careers and/or volunteerism in rodeo and major events.
This new event connected visitors to the northwest Queensland region, the Kalkadoon people, their stories and culture as well as the visiting indigenous communities of northern Queensland. Held on August 11, 2022, it elevated and celebrated First Nations people and art, strengthened Mount Isa community relationships, created economic benefits, increased visitation, drove social change, and elevated Queensland's international reputation for exceptional and unique First Nations arts and cultural products.
Natalie Flecker, CEO of ISA Rodeo Ltd, said: "The Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships provides an array of social and economic benefits to not only the community of Mount Isa but to other regional communities associated with this event. The event expertise of Isa Rodeo Ltd, the cultural guidance and input from Malkarri and the inspiring programs and advice Mona offers to empower our Aboriginal youth is a deadly combination that demonstrates the sort of outcomes great partnerships can produce. This event has enormous growth potential and will play a significant role in the First Nations offering to the many visitors leading up to and beyond the 2032 Olympics/Para-Olympics."
Seleena Blackley, Senior Cultural Facilitator, Malkarri Cultural Centre said: "Big love for you mob. Proud of the connection we've built".
Maryann Wipaki, General Manager HSEC, Glencore QLD Metal said Mount Isa Mines was proud to have sponsored the inaugural Indigenous Rodeo.
"Glencore supports initiatives that celebrate Indigenous participation and the importance of diversity and inclusion. Our continued sponsorship for rodeo and many other community events, helps to inject confidence in Mount Isa, and create a sustainable community, by generating more than $10 million into the local economy,"
In another huge win, sister event, the 2022 Mount Isa Mines Rodeo took the Silver in the Major Festivals and Events Category.
The legendary event was held in Mount Isa from August 11 -14, is the biggest buckle battle in the Southern Hemisphere, and home to Australia's largest rodeo prize pool of over $300,000 over four days of world class rodeo action. On stage some of the country's biggest names in music including Guy Sebastian and James Johnston, Pierce Brothers and McAllister Kemp led three nights of Rodeo Rock.
The 62nd Mount Isa Mines Rodeo attracted 25,084 total attendees.
"If our famous red dirt of the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo arena could talk, the stories would be of a world class competition, record entries, riders from across the nation, fairy-tale endings, brilliant bulls and broncs, whip-fast times, fearless cowboys and cowgirls, a wave of super talented juniors, and a joyous wedding that silenced the capacity stadium," Ms Flecker said.
"There was a record 956 entries showing rodeo is booming and Mount Isa is at the very heart of it!"
The 2022 Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships will now progress to the Australian Tourism Awards in Darwin, in March 2024.