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Mount Isa: Rodeo capital of Australia
2 Apr

Mount Isa: Rodeo capital of Australia

Mount Isa is undoubtedly the rodeo capital of Australia.

If you’re staying with us here at the Isa Hotel in the month of August, it’s well worth getting along to the world-famous Isa Rodeo at Buchan Park. Not to be confused with The Rodeo Bar & Grill our steak house and pizzeria – which is also a must-visit!

The Isa Rodeo first began in 1959 and is now the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. To find out when the rodeo is next coming to town, check out The Isa Rodeo website.

mt isa rodeo infographic

Not just clowning around

Rodeo events are varied, and include (click plus signs):

Steer Wrestling . . .

On horseback, a rider must chase a steer, then wrestle him to the ground by twisting the steer’s horns.

Bull riding . . .

A rider on a large bull must try to stay on while the bull attempts to buck the rider off. The American tradition is for the rider to stay on for a full eight seconds for it to qualify as a ride.

Bronc riding . . .

Either in a saddle or bareback, the rider must stay atop a horse as the animal attempts to buck the rider off.

Barrel racing . . .

Horse and rider must complete a cloverleaf pattern around a number of barrels in the fastest possible time.

Breakaway roping . . .

On horseback, a rider must rope a calf by throwing a lasso around its neck, in the fastest possible time.

Team roping . . .

Two riders on horseback must rope a steer; one around its head, the other around its hind feet. This is the only rodeo event where men and women can compete against one another, in either single-gender or mixed-gender partnerships.

Rope and tie . . .

On horseback, a rider must rope the calf by throwing a lasso around its neck, then dismount from the horse and restrain the calf by tying three legs together, in the fastest possible time.

During the week of the Isa Rodeo, there’s plenty of entertainment on top of the competitions:

  • there’s a Rodeo Ball, which includes the crowning of a Rodeo Queen
  • budding cowboys and cowgirls can attend Rodeo School
  • the Mardi Gras Parade makes its way around the streets surrounding Buchan Park and is full of fun and colour
  • and there are live bands on stage.

Something for everyone to enjoy!

mt isa rodeo competitor area

The camping area at Mount Isa’s Buchanan Park for rodeo competitors and their horses. Image: Blythe Moore, ABC North West Queensland

Animal welfare a must

The Isa Rodeo is run in accordance with the Australian Professional Rodeo Association Animal Welfare Code of Conduct. In order to perform at their best, the animals must be in top condition, and so they are well respected by competitors, organisers and onlookers alike.

At the Isa Rodeo, the Ropersmate roping device is used, working as a shock absorber to reduce the risk of injury. Flank straps are lined with sheepskin or soft material and fitted with quick release mechanisms. Electric prods are not used, with battery-powered prods only used in very specific circumstances.

The Isa Rodeo’s target is zero animal injuries at each event, and a vet is always present in case of emergency. There are, of course, paramedics on hand for the riders, who often come off second best in relation to the animals!

Not just young bucks

Bob Holder and his horse Stormy. Image: Blythe Moore, ABC North West Queensland

Bob Holder and his horse Stormy. Image: Blythe Moore, ABC North West Queensland

Australia’s oldest professional cowboy competed at the Isa Rodeo earlier this year. While 84-year-old Bob Holder (pictured) participated in events like bareback bronc riding in his younger days, he now competes in team roping. Bob shows no signs of slowing down, and plans to compete for another decade.

How to get there

From the Isa Hotel in the heart of Mount Isa CBD, it’s just a short 2km trot to the Isa Rodeo at Buchan Park.

Our friendly Concierge staff can assist in directing you there, or can call you a taxi if you prefer.

To find out more about what’s going on around Mount Isa, be sure to check out the rest of our blog, or chat to our Concierge staff during your stay.