The Isa Rodeo first began in 1959 and is now the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Rodeo ring events are varied, and include:
- 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 the ride to qualify.
- 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 as quickly as possible.
- Team roping – two riders on horseback must rope a steer; one around its head, the other around its hind feet.
- Rope and tie – on horseback, a rider must rope a calf by throwing a lasso around its neck, then dismount from the horse and restrain the calf by tying three legs together as quickly as possible.
Outside of the ring there’s plenty of entertainment, from the Rodeo Ball (complete with crowning of a Rodeo Queen), to the Mardi Gras Parade that takes over surrounding streets with colour and fun. There’s even a Rodeo School for budding young cowboys and cowgirls!
Animal Welfare at the Rodeo
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!
Find out more about the Mount Isa Rodeo including dates and how you can get involved by visiting their website!