Photo credit: Outback Drones
It’s official – the Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo won its second consecutive Best Festival and Event award at this year’s Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.
So it’s no surprise that crowds from far and wide line up to get into the arena that houses the biggest rodeo in the southern Hemisphere.
We’ve compiled a list of the 9 things not to miss at this year’s rodeo, to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee aka 60th Anniversary Rodeo.
Pssst – in case you’re counting backwards, we’re celebrating our 60th rodeo a year early as in 1975, we held a second rodeo just for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip’s visit to Mount Isa!
1. The best cowboys and cowgirls
Check out all the adrenalin-pumping action at Mount Isa’s four days of rodeo competition, including bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback, steer wrestling, roping, ladies barrel racing and breakaway roping.
A record $230,000 in prizes (cash and buckles) is up for grabs – if you fancy yourself a contender.
The top cowboys and cowgirls from all over Australia, New Zealand and some special guests from the United States will compete for their chance to be crowned champions in their events.
2. The Chute Tour
If you’ve purchased a Gold Seat, go behind the scenes on a limited, up close and personal Chute Tour.
Catch a cowboy’s-eye-view at what goes on when getting into the chute when they prepare to ride a one tonne bull or bucking bronc – you don’t get much closer than this, unless you’re in the saddle of course.
The tours are guided by Isa Rodeo Queens or rodeo protection athletes. This is the ultimate first-hand rodeo experience. Yee Hah!
3. Barnsey Rocking Rodeo
Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes will rock the rodeo stadium, headlining the 60th Birthday Bash live concert on Sunday night (August 12).
Get ready to kick up the red dirt as a stage takes over the famous Buchanan Park arena where bulls and broncs will be bucking just a couple of hours before in the rodeo finals.
Barnsey, who has more #1 albums (10) than any other Australian artist, will lead a stellar lineup including The Wolfe Brothers, James Blundell, Tania Kernaghan and Brewn.
This concert is ticketed separately from the rodeo, available either as part of the three day rodeo ticket package or just the concert ticket if you’re wanting to see Aussie rock royalty.
4. Rodeo Rock Concerts
Rodeo thrills and spills will be followed into the nights by the Rodeo Rock live concert series.
The Viper Creek Band and Sheppard will rock Friday night (August 10), and The McClymonts and Travis Collins on Saturday night (August 11). If you can believe it, both nights of concert are all included in your Rodeo Pass (read: free).
When the rodeo is over for the day, the action shifts to the Wardles Main Stage – grab your Akubra and kick up some dust as these fabulous live shows.
5. Race to the Mailman Express
Enjoy the speed and adrenaline of the Mailman Express; a non-thoroughbred time-trial horse race.
The race is held on Thursday night (August 9) and takes place over a 200 metre straight on the Buchanan Park racetrack.
Named in honour of the late Wally Mailman – a champion rough rider, rodeo judge and racing steward in Mount Isa and also father of actress Deborah Mailman, this race is sure to get your blood pumping.
6. Witness the opening of the Isa Rodeo Hall of Fame
With a rodeo that’s been legendary since 1959, some would say the Isa Rodeo Hall of Fame is long overdue.
Join festival organisers this year at the award-winning Outback at Isa as they officially open the hall of fame and welcome our first inductees, all legends of the Isa Rodeo.
This new attraction is just the place to learn more about the biggest rodeo in the southern hemisphere and the cowboys and cowgirls who have put the event on the world rodeo map.
7. Get giddy at the Fanzone cowboy corner
Here’s your chance to grab a selfie with a champion cowboy or cowgirl.
The special QCCU Fanzone is the spot to meet some of the star competitors, who’ll be happy to have a chat about what’s involved in the sport of rodeo.
Our rodeo stars and some of our entertainers will be dropping by to sign autographs and have a friendly chat with rodeo-goers.
8. Check out Festi-bull Chill & Kids Zone
When you need a break from the adrenalin-pumping action in the arena, we have the perfect place to chill.
The Festi-bull Chill & Kids Zone is a laid back, family-friendly zone where you can relax over a cool drink or grab a bite to eat for lunch.
It’s an alcohol-free zone with tables and chairs set up in a welcoming, shady area a short stroll from the arena. The littlies aren’t forgotten – with kid-friendly fun on offer.
9. Get into the Rodeo Spirit – it’s a thing
Photo credit: Sue Stubbs
There’s no doubt that the spirit of rodeo takes over Mount Isa for the week.
Join in the fun by dressing in “western” gear – jeans, check shirt and an Akubra or bush hat, and check out the shops taking part in the Best Dressed Competition.
If you’ve forgotten your gear, pay a visit to Rodeo HQ at Buchanan Park where you’ll find the perfect souvenir of your outback adventure.
Looking for other things to do in Mount Isa?
- Discover more things to do at the Rodeo with this ultimate guide
- Check out this 48 hour guide to the cowboy capital
- Find your paradise just north of Mount Isa at Adels Grove
Are you heading to the Mount Isa Rodeo this year?
Post sponsored by the Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo