In what’s believed to be a world first, the largest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere will be staged as a ‘virtual rodeo’ to combat the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the famous red dirt arena off limits to thousands of rodeo fans, Mount Isa Mines Rodeo Chief Executive Officer Ms Natalie Flecker today announced that a virtual 2020 Mount Isa Mines Rodeo would be broadcast to the world 7-9 August, the event’s scheduled dates pre COVID-19.
Ms Flecker said Isa Rodeo would open nominations to 19 events, including Open, 2nd Division, Junior and Novelty events in both the rough stock (bull riding, bareback riding, saddlebronc riding) and timed events (steer wrestling, rope and tie, team roping, barrel racing and breakaway roping).
Ms Flecker said the nominations were open to Australian and international competitors as it would be via video recordings.
“Competitors will be invited to send in their best ride from the past two years (2018-2019) and the videos will be judged by our official Isa Rodeo judges,” she said. “We will create a live stream broadcast of the event so that thousands of rodeo fans will (almost) feel like they’re at our amazing event.”
Ms Flecker said the virtual Isa Rodeo would not be possible without the support of the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland, and long-time naming rights sponsor, Mount Isa Mines and loyal sponsors like Bell & Moir Toyota who have been with the event since its inception in 1959.
“It is absolutely incredible to have this support in a year that has been a huge challenge for everyone across the board, from sponsor businesses to our rodeo competitors without whom this event would not be possible.
“We hope it captures the imagination of our cowboys and cowgirls, who are fiercely competitive and passionate about their sport – and to our rodeo audience who would normally make the trip to Mount Isa to enjoy everything that the Isa Rodeo week has to offer.
“As a free virtual event, it will also hopefully reach thousands more who are interested in rodeo, and who will see what the fuss is about.”
Naming rights and foundation sponsor Mount Isa Mines is back in the saddle to ensure the virtual event is a success for the iconic rodeo.
Maryann Wipaki, General Manager for Health, Safety, Environment and Community for Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines said the pandemic has inspired innovation and imagination, and thanks to technology, we continue to showcase the can-do spirit of rodeo.
“While we can’t underestimate the effects the pandemic is having on our communities, we hope the Virtual Mount Isa Mines Rodeo in August provides entertainment and benefit for the competitors and our community that otherwise would have been missed,” said Ms Wipaki.
Records were broken at last year’s 60th Anniversary Mount Isa Mines Rodeo, with new data showing tourists spent a record $12.24 million in the local economy – $500,000 more than in 2018. The overall attendance figure had surpassed 2018’s previous record, with attendance of 39,933 over the four-day event, generating more than 64,000 visitor nights in Queensland.
The Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is a multi-Australian Tourism Award winner (best festival and event) including gold (2016 & 2018) and silver (2017).
Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland.