Australia’s top rodeo competitors and stock heading to Isa showdown

The country’s top cowboys and cowgirls, plus of course the best stock, are heading to north-west Queensland for next month’s iconic Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo.

Being held from 9 to 11 August, the Isa Rodeo will showcase the talents of the current Australian rodeo champions, according to Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) General Manager Steve Hilton.

“There’s a lot of interest in Mount Isa from competitors,” said Mr Hilton. “If you win at Mount Isa, you usually qualify for the national finals. There’s so much on the line for them at this event.”

Rodeo-goers will have the chance to see current Australian champions including national All Round Cowboy, Central Queensland’s rodeo legend Shane Kenny; Barrel Racing champion, Moree’s Wendy Caban and current steer wrestling champ Cameron Bell in action.

The current Australian bull riding champion, New Zealander Fraser Babbington will join the bravest bull riders in the country to hold on for their life until the eight second hooter blasts. And crowd favourite, 82-year-old Bob Holder from Cootamundra, NSW, is once again set to contest the team roping competition.

Mr Hilton said Mount Isa’s strong line-up of stock included the current Australian best bucking bareback horse of the year Mandy’s Boy, and current saddle bronc horse of the year Cheyenne Top Girl.

“The total number of entries received is similar to last year’s rodeo attracting around 500 nominations,” he said.  Around $200,000 in prizes (cash and buckles) is up for grabs in Australia’s richest rodeo event.

The bucking bulls stock contractor for the Mount Isa rodeo is Darren Brandenburg, who is a former Australian bull riding champion and based in Richmond in north-western Queensland. Brandenburg nominates “Gotcha Rockin”, judged best bucking bull at the recent Brisbane professional Bull Riding (PBR) Invitational as one to watch, along with “Tropical Low”.

“They are both Bantang bulls, an elite breed from the Northern Territory,” said Brandenburg, himself a former bull riding champion who certainly knows what makes a champion bull. “The Isa crowd is in for a  treat as there aren’t many around, they run wild in Arnhem Land.”

Other bulls sure to be crowd (and not cowboy) pleasers are the memorably-named Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), another former circuit bull of the year which has a big reputation in Central Queensland and Big Brian, who will make his last Isa rodeo appearance.

One of the highlights of this year’s rodeo is sure to be the Rodeo Twenty20, according to Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo Manager Donna Kuskopf. “It’s the rodeo equivalent of 20/20 Cricket – a chance to see all the top competitors go head to head in a two hour showcase of all seven events – bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback, steer wrestling, roping, ladies barrel racing and breakaway roping.

“The arena action will be super sized on a 40 square metre big screen with instant action replays including footage from specially-placed cameras – above the chutes, in the timed event tunnel and at various points throughout the arena so you can see the action from every angle,” she said.

The action kicks off on Friday, August 9 with the rodeo getting underway at midday, leading into the opening mardi gras parade, spectacular opening ceremony and mini rodeo. The weekend focus is on rodeo competition, leading up to the Sunday finals. Other rodeo events include Bush Poets Breakfasts and Mailman Express Sprint Horse Race, a 200 metre sprint from a running start open to non-thoroughbred horses.

The Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo won the Festival & Events category of the prestigious 2012 Queensland Tourism Awards and was a finalist at the Australian Tourism Awards.

For more information visit www.isarodeo.com.au or phone (07) 4743 2706. To keep up with all the latest news follow us on www.twitter.com/isarodeo or www.facebook.com/isarodeo. For accommodation and holiday ideas visit www.queenslandholidays.com.au/destinations/outback/

For media information and assistance, please contact:
Susan Fuller, Synergy Marketing & Public Relations
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Email: susan.fuller@synergypr.net.au