Sponsor Saviours

Telco’s, banks, motor vehicles and sugary drink brands tend to  visibly make up the majority of sponsorship for events throughout the capital cities of Australia where media coverage and mass visitor numbers are almost guaranteed and promised in proposals. Sponsors commit to providing some product, perhaps some financial support and in return receive branding, signage and recognition through all types of paraphernalia given away at the cash cow city events.

It is however the regional towns and cities throughout Australia that have proven to provide events that quite often give the true Australian experience and deliver the quintessential down under memories. It is through the hard to receive support of large organisations that regional Australia is able to deliver these unique events.

One such event that has successfully secured corporate sponsorship is the annual Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo. The highlight event in the small mining town is also the largest and richest rodeo event in the Southern Hemisphere drawing over 25,000 visitors to the town providing a welcomed economic benefit to the town.

The Isa Rodeo is presented by the combined Rotary Clubs of Mount Isa. The three clubs are the Mount Isa Club, Mount Isa West and Mount Isa South. Steeped in over 40 years of history, The Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo (as it was first known) was born out of a desire by a young service club to “think big”.

With no ground, no stock and no experience, a Rodeo organising committee was formed and set about the task of staging the first ever Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo in 1959. It is the local Rotarian movement that has allowed the rodeo event to develop and grow into it’s now internationally recognised status.

So often event managers contact major organisations seeking their support only to receive a “copy and paste” letter in the mail declining their request in favour of providing a greater annual report to shareholders and board directors. The assistance and support from major corporate organisations such as the Isa Rodeo’s current joint presenting partner Xstrata Mount Isa Mines allows the organising committee to deliver the world class event each year and continue to grow its visitor and competitor numbers.

“As Mount Isa’s largest employer, it makes good business sense for us to be involved with the highest profile event in the North West. ISA Rodeo positively builds the city’s image, places us (Xstrata) on the map, and the event helps underpin the local economy through providing a significant boost to local businesses during the lead up and wind down of the event”, said Ms Melanie Edgar, Xstrata North Queensland Manager Community Relations.

It is felt by some that these businesses dominating regional towns are obligated to return support to local communities or that they are entitled to it, however it is only a few such as Xstrata that provide a large commitment to the communities which have assisted them.

“Research shows international visitors to Australia are seeking true blue experiences. They want Bondi Beach but they also want outback Australia and all the excitement that it can deliver. Some of the many events that we promote internationally are fuelled by partnerships or sponsorships with corporations and without that their commitment may not have the resources to continue. I believe we are really lucky that some large corporations that are in a position to support these events have the foresight to assist”, said Lynne Hocking, Partnerships Manager for Tourism Australia.

Ms Edgar added, “Holding the joint naming rights to the Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo, affectionately known as the ISA Rodeo, provides Xstrata with the opportunity to associate our brand with a high quality, nationally and internationally recognised event. Our $5.87 million Xstrata Community Partnership Program North Queensland supports over sixty initiatives in Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Townsville and Bowen (roughly fifty-five organisations). It was launched in 2005 and has been extended through to 2009”.

Whether it is the sugary drinks or mining conglomerates, regional Australia relies on the support of large organisations to deliver events such as the annual Isa Rodeo which is now a permanent fixture on the annual Rodeo calendar of events internationally.

The largest rodeo event in the Southern Hemisphere, the 2007 Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo will run from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th August 2007. For further information about the 2007 Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo please contact the Media Unit at RODEO HQ on 07 47432706.