IT’S widely known as being the biggest and best rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere and this year will be no different.
Queensland’s iconic Mount Isa Rodeo will this year mark it’s 60th event, with bumper crowds flocking to the outback for the four-day spectacular.
Caravan Parks are overflowing, bookings have doubled from last year’s event and Platinum and Gold reserved seating has been sold out for weeks.
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Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said thousands of people lined the streets for the Isa Street Festival on Wednesday.
“Events like the Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo are an important part of the outback’s $573 million tourism industry,” Ms Jones said.
“The Isa Rodeo is an iconic Queensland event which now attracts around 15,000 people who spend more than $8 million each year.
“More than ever before, we’re finding that visitors to Queensland are looking for something different. Mt Isa has unique experiences in spades.
“We’re working hard to publicise these experiences in key tourism markets overseas.
“We expect strong numbers at the Isa Rodeo this year. This is a testament to the fact that our work is paying off.”
The rodeo started in 1959 and today attracts more than 600 competitors from around Australia and overseas and offers $230,000 in prize money and buckles.
The 2018 event will also be Australia’s first rodeo to offer competitors the opportunity to qualify for the World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) $500,000USD semi-finals event to be held in Guthrie, Oaklahoma in November.
“A new, landmark partnership between Professional Bull Riders Australia (PBRA) and WCRA is creating an international pathway for Australian rodeo athletes and another platform for Queensland’s iconic events to be promoted,” Ms Jones said.
“This opportunity for locals to compete at international level builds on the partnerships that the Isa Rodeo has created with US-based trade partners and media to support a consumer campaign and special broadcast production to drive US visitation to Queensland.
“We know that events drive visitation, promote our beautiful destinations and support local jobs. That’s why the government will invest an additional $36 million over the next three years for TEQ to attract more events.”
In the three years to March 2018, Ms Jones said domestic visitor expenditure in the outback increased 11.1 per cent.
“We are committed to continuing to support the local tourism industry and events which continue to drive visitors to the outback,” she said.