QR’s spectacular Silver Spike competition is making tracks for this weekend’s famous Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo – and it’s the first time the State Finals of the event have been held away from Brisbane’s Ekka.
Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo Manager Tricia Esdaile said it was a huge coup for Mount Isa – and the rodeo – to host the state finals of the Silver Spike.
“Rodeo week in Mount Isa is huge as the city gears up to host the biggest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Tricia. “And we are delighted that locals and visitors will also be able to watch the finals of this historic rail competition for the first time in Mount Isa.”
The 53rd Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo kicks off this Friday, August 12 at Buchanan Park. The Silver Spike competition takes place at the rodeo’s non-ticketed area alongside the XXXX Gold Retreat.
The Silver Spike celebrates more than 144 years of Queensland Rail history dating back to the bygone era of manual tracklaying. It’s a unique test of skill and accuracy. Now in its 19th year, the Silver Spike competition will showcase the final three teams from the state’s Southern, Central and Northern region competitions.
The best track-layers will go head-to-head competing to lay 13 metres of track in the safest and fastest time to claim the state title. The teams lift 3000kg of equipment by hand per race – laying sleepers, the track and nailing in 160 dog spikes before racing a pump car along the track to the stop block.
Judges assess the workmanship of each team and time penalties are imposed for any safety breaches. Safety relates both to the personal safety of competitors and the quality of track. The aim is to not only have the fastest but the cleanest run.
Although strength and speed are important, to be successful in the spike, teams also have to show a high degree of skill, safety awareness, innovation and team work.
Rodeo-goers will also have the chance to meet the Queensland Rail Bulls Masters sporting legends at the QR Silver Spike Marquee at Buchanan Park on Saturday, August 13 where they will be fund-raising for local charities.
The rodeo festivities kick off with the Zonta Bush Poets Breakfast this Wednesday, August 10 and the Mailman Express Spring Horse Race this Thursday, August 11.
In the ring, rodeo-goers can see the nation’s best compete over three action-packed days from Friday to Sunday (August 12 to 14) for a $200,000 prize pool in events such as bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback, steer wrestling, roping, ladies barrel racing and breakaway roping plus the best bull riders representing the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand compete in a spectacular Country of Origin Bull Riding Competition.
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