Mount Isa is known as one of the largest cities in the world by land mass. Affectionately known as the ‘oasis of the outback’, Mount Isa is a gleaming mirage on the horizon for travellers from all directions.
The city of Mount Isa is a bustling melting pot of culture and industry and is nestled among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges on the banks of the Leichhardt River. It’s a picturesque place, and home to the world’s third largest rodeo too.
The Mount Isa Mines Rodeo
The Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is celebrating its 60th year in 2019. Started in 1959 as a way to put the remote town of Mount Isa on the map, this legendary event is something you must experience in your lifetime. What better year than in its 60th year?
The Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is Australia’s richest rodeo and the largest one in the Southern Hemisphere. Last year, a fourth day was added to the 3-day event and we’re pleased to say that the fourth day is here to stay in 2019.
The History of the Rodeo
The Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is a celebration of the outback. It was started by the city’s first Rotary Club and since then its rich history as grown as much as its prize money.
When the Rodeo first started there were no rodeo grounds, no stock and no experience of such an event. But with guidance from the Australian Professional Rodeo Association, the hard work and self belief paid off. The Rodeo became a reality thanks to local sponsors and today the Rodeo runs like a well-oiled machine with up to $200,000 in prize money and more than 600 nominations.
What to Expect in 2019
This year’s Mount Isa Mines Rodeo will feature more fun and adventure than ever before. It will kick off on Saturday 3 August with the crowning of the Rodeo Queen and a special 2019 Queen Quest Bell & Moir Toyota Rodeo Arena Ball to kick of the 60 years celebration.
The 2019 Queen Quest Bell & Moir Toyota Rodeo Arena Ball marks the beginning of the rodeo season and is the culmination for Queen Quest hopefuls who have been working tirelessly throughout the year to fundraise for local charities. From there, the Rodeo is officially opened, bringing with it:
The Isa Street Festival and Street Parade
Presented by the Mount Isa City Council, the Isa Street Festival and Street Parade welcomes visitors to the city on Wednesday 7 August 2019. The celebration includes a street parade, live open-air concert, family entertainment, kids activities, street stalls and more.
The highlight will be a concert by Rai Thistlethwayte of Thirsty Merc fame and his band performing his signature mix of classic rock, pop and jazz. You’ll also be able to meet football legend Johnathon Thurston at the Community Connect Zone, which will have free family rides, local performers, food and market stalls, kids games and activities and a licensed beer garden.
The theme for the 2019 Isa Street Festival and Street Parade is “Living Fossils”.
Rodeo competition kicks off on Thursday morning, August 8, with a half-day “Rodeo Sound Check” of lower division events. The action will then shift to the Mount Isa Race Club for the Mailman Express on Thursday night, a time-trial race for non-thoroughbred horses.
Three days of rodeo competition will then follow, with live concerts including Birds of Tokyo and Oakwood on August 9 and Lee Kernaghan, Casey Barnes and Blake O’Connor on August 10. There’ll be non-stop rodeo action and eight major rodeo events:
Rope & Tie
Ladies Barrel Racing
Ladies Breakaway Roping
Sunday is finals day, concluding mid afternoon in preparation for the specially ticketed 60th year celebrations. All the action of rodeo competition (including the concerts) is included in your rodeo pass.
Get Ready to Rock
To close the Rodeo in its 60th year, the legend that is John Farnham will lead a specially ticketed Ready to Rock concert on the Wardles Stage on Sunday 11 August. Joining him will be other legends including Busby Marou, Brad Cox, Blake O’Connor and Dee Jaye Bux. This is your opportunity to “kick the dirt” with some of Australia’s greats. Tickets can be purchased separately or added to your rodeo pass.
For all ticketing options visit the online ticketing office.
Getting to Mount Isa
Mount Isa is easily accessed by air with direct flights to and from Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Gold Coast and Darwin through Mount Isa Airport. REX Airlines is the official Rodeo carrier and has connecting flights throughout Queensland and regional Australia.
The airport is located 8 kilometres from the city centre and once there you can hop on the Mount Isa Coach shuttle service which runs between town, the Rodeo and your accommodation.
Staying in Mount Isa
It’s important to book early when planning to stay in Mount Isa over rodeo season. Accommodation can get completely booked out, so act fast.
If you want the proper Mount Isa experience, the Isa Hotel is a pillar in Mount Isa history, dating back to the early 1900s. The hotel originally boasted coffee and dining rooms, a saloon bar and lounge, and a billiard room on the ground floor, with 23 bedrooms with balconies upstairs and stables and a garage at the rear. The Redearth Hotel is another Mount Isa gem, a premium experience in the heart of the city.
Both the Isa and Redearth Hotels are awarded and industry recognised for superior accommodation at an affordable price. There’s no where better to kick back after a day of action at the Rodeo than at one of these hotels. Meet the locals, eat, be entertained and have a comfortable stay with an authentic experience. If you’re accommodation is covered, join in the fun at the Isa Hotel at our Bullring Bar. We’re turning the car park into the ultimate Rodeo party, complete with bars, mechanical bull ring and DJ’s until late. Our Redearth restaurant will transform into the Ironjack Bar & Grill.
Oh, and did we mention we’ve got the boxing legend Fred Brophy bringing his famous boxing tent to the Isa Hotel and setting up shop? There really is no excuse not to be in Mount Isa this August!