Your ultimate guide to the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo


Photo by Outback Drones

Type ‘professional bull rider’ into Seek and you’ll be hard pressed to return many results.

And for good reason.

It takes a certain breed of cowboy or girl to sit in the saddle of the world’s most dangerous job – even if it’s only an eight-second shift.

But when the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo rolls around each year for four days every August, the town is flooded with cattle whisperers looking to kick up dust and crack their whips to reach rodeo fame and glory.

This year, the rodeo will be celebrating its 60th year, so boot-scoot your way to Mount Isa with our ultimate guide to seeing it in action:

Travel into town

Planes fly direct from Cairns, Townsville or Brisbane to Mount Isa so board a Qantas, Virgin Australia or Rex Airlines to hit the ground running.

If it’s a road trip you desire, the Matilda Way from Sydney or Overlander’s Way from Townsville will get you there, and all you need is a cracking Spotify playlist to get your drive off to a good start.

Or, take to the tracks and relax aboard the Inlander train journey which departs Townsville each Sunday and Thursday.

Get dressed

Polish off your RM’s and pop on an Akubra for this celebration of stockmen. Swap a singlet for a long sleeved shirt and your shorts for jeans. You’ll want to look the part, regardless of the fact you probably just bought your outfit two days ago

Catch the tent boxing

It’s not just the bulls that go head to head. Lace up your gloves for a round of boxing after the rodeo wraps up for the day at Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe.

It’s Outback Queensland’s very own Fight Club – and one of the last places in the world to see this kind of street fighting.

If you think you’ve got your left hook down pat, jump in the ring and go up against some of Mount Isa’s best.

Chat to a bull rider

You can learn a lot from a man who knows his cattle. Take 25 year old Roy Dunn for instance, who traded his office chair for the bare back of a 1000kg bull in a career change of a different kind.

He knows that sticking a spur into a bull’s side is an activity reserved for only the bravest of people, and things don’t always go to plan.

“The worst injury I still carry is my right shoulder. I dislocated it while competing in the USA. I had a full rotator cuff repair and sat out of competition for close to 12 months. I’ve broken both arms, hands, fingers, had multiple concussions and three surgeries.”

So there’s our lesson learnt – you’ve got to be very hungry for the $230,000 prize money in order to put yourself forward in a competition where man meets beast.  The flip side, this has to be one of the fastest ways to make a buck … you just need to stay on for 8 seconds.

Tucker up

The event’s non-stop action will have hungry, so it’s only fitting to fuel up at the Mount Isa Buff’s Club. Located in the heart of the rodeo capital, it boasts a coffee lounge, bottle shop, bar and grill, and kids club all under one roof.

The Buff’s Signature Parmy involving their mushroom sauce, ham and avocado toppled in mozzarella or their chargrilled favourites are our picks off the family-friendly menu.

Sleep in style

For an authentic rodeo experience, roll out your bed in swag city. Or if you desire a little more room, book in for the rodeo glamping experience featuring beautifully furnished six metre bell tents. You won’t have to lift a finger with the tents set up for you when you arrive and a fully cooked breakfast prepared for you on the Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Rooms in town book out fast when rodeo time rolls around, but if you get in early, you might be lucky enough to snag a room at Ibis Styles Mount Isa Hotel or the Red Earth Hotel.

Want to extend your trip? Check out this guide on how to spend 48 Hours in Mount Isa.

Have you been to Mount Isa Rodeo? What are your tips?