As the stock contractor for next month’s Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo, Darren Brandenburg knows all about good breeding.
A former Australian bull riding champion, the Nebo-based rodeo bull contractor is responsible for supplying the bucking stock – bulls and broncs – to the biggest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere, being held from August 12 to 14.
And it’s this expertise in genetics and breeding he shares with Victorian-based Garry McPhee, whom Darren sub-contracts to supply the bucking broncs, which, along with the bulls, are arguably the real stars of the rodeo.
Like Brandenburg, McPhee is also a former multi Australian champion cowboy, who won his first Australian championship in 1971. He won four All Around championships and another 13 national titles before starting his own rodeo company five years later.
McPhee says the broncs to watch at next month’s Isa Rodeo are the product of decades of breeding. He names Cheyenne Girl, the 2015 Saddlebronc of the Year and overall five-time winner; Cheyenne Top Girl and Cajun Lady as some of his top Saddlebronc stock. The 2015 Bareback of the Year, Mandy’s Boy will be back, along with 2010 Best Bareback Bronc, Cheyenne Brave and Dark Shadows.
“I’ve also got some young ones – Take Me Easy, Ridiculous and King of Roses – who will be good to watch,” said McPhee.
Brandenburg knows all eyes will be on his bucking bulls with names like Suicidal Blonde, Blossom and Slammin’ Jam.
A new Bintang bull, Take the Gamble, who is competing in his first Isa Rodeo, is the bull to draw, according to Brandenburge. “Take the Gamble is the next outstanding bull, and is so far unridden and getting better as the year goes on,” he said. “We’ve also got Blossom, who we named as a bit of a joke as he is not sweet, not very nice at all. Riders have been capable of scoring in the high 90 points if they ride him.”
Brandenburg said Central Queensland’s Duaringa-based bull contractor Trevor Dunne, one of Australia’s best bull breeders, was also bringing some fearsome bulls to Isa, including PBR Bucking Bull of the Year contender Jackie Howe and Rock the House.
“We have stock capable of breaking Australian records,” he said. The 2015 Open Bull Ride was the first time in the event’s history that no bull rider rode time (8 seconds) in the final, and the result was decided on aggregate scores.
“We think the bull power is going to be as good this year, if not better,” said Brandenburg. “Whoever wins all the dollars at Mount Isa (rodeo), we’re going to make them earn it.”
Mount Isa’s three days of rodeo competition, including bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback, steer wrestling, roping, ladies barrel racing and breakaway roping kicks off on Friday, August 12. A record $230,000 in prizes (cash and buckles) is up for grabs at the three-day event which runs until August 14.
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