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Record nominations for second annual Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships as champions return!

Indigenous Rodeo Championships 4 mins read
Eight year old Reuben Craigie took the Poddy Ride Buckle and his dad, champion cowboy Jason Craigie, took the Open Bareback Bronc at the first Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships last year_photo Stephen Mowbray

Record nominations for second annual Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships


Champions returning for back-to-back Buckles


Last year 100 indigenous riders took part in the first ever Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships, held the night before the legendary Isa Mines Rodeo. This year, thanks to funding from the Queensland Government, the event returns on Thursday August 10 with organisers announcing a record number of nominations – 119 competitors will take part across a full program celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and showcasing the skills of Australia’s extraordinary indigenous stockmen and women.


Five reigning champions will return to defend their buckles, and entries have been received across all eight events in rodeo.


This year Isa Rodeo will also host a Rodeo School Clinic in conjunction with the event, run by rodeo legends Darryl Chong, Shiloh Gosbee, Darren ‘Brandy’ Brandenburg and Steve Hilton.


Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk encouraged Queenslanders to get behind the event.


“Our government is proud to support this important event, which will showcase the incredible culture and talent of the North West region,” the Premier said. “Those attending can use this opportunity to learn the history of the region directly from the Traditional Owners -  Kalkadoon People.” 


“As our state walks the Path to Treaty, opportunities like this to acknowledge more than 65,000 years of culture are incredibly important.


“So, get involved, and enjoy this year’s bigger and better Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships.”


The inaugural 2022 event saw Mount Isa cowboy Stafford Swan win the Bull Ride Champion buckle and his eight-year-old son Reuben win the Poddy Ride, while famed rider Jason Craigie from Acacia Hills in the Northern Territory took the Bareback title and Tylor Chong from Gracemere near Rockhampton the Saddle Bronc – all three champions are returning to defend their titles!


Similarly, Dimbulah (FNQ) cowgirl Ricki Sivyer will be back to race for another buckle in the Barrel Race, while fellow cowgirl Maisey Hetherington from Mackay is looking for back-to-back buckles in the Breakaway Roping.


“We are thrilled to have 119 competitors for the second Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships, an event we are so incredibly proud to host in partnership with Mona Aboriginal Corporation,” said Natalie Flecker,


Patrick Cooke, CEO of Mona Aboriginal Corporation said, “This landmark indigenous rodeo event celebrates indigenous culture and showcases the skills of Australia’s indigenous stockmen and women. Importantly, it creates opportunities for indigenous youth to train and become professional rodeo competitors and after the success of last year’s event, communities across the Outback are looking forward to fielding riders. It’s going to be exciting.”


Jessica Mauboy will headline the rodeo rock concert in the evening, while the Sundowners Kalkutungu Dancers and the spectacular Komet Torres Strait Islander Arts and Culture Dance Group will perform the Welcome to Country in what promises to be a powerful evening. Local Kalkatungu artists, Cungelella Art will also present a fashion parade of their designs featuring all their kids!


Rodeo organisers have also commissioned a spectacular artwork from Cungelella Art that will feature across the event posters, merchandise, and on shirts. 


Cungelella Art founder Glenda McCulloch said the artwork is called Kalkatungu Country and represents their home.


“The country is very tough and rugged, the heat has twisted and folded back on itself, and the ochres have been pushed up from the depths with gold and silver and many other minerals which gives us the most unique mineral belt in the world. The peach covered skies mixed with the blues pinks and purples, paints us the well-known Kalkadoon sunsets,” she said.


“The harsh Spinifex that covers the hillsides, the ghost gums that flourish among the intense red dirt … it’s where our Kalkadoon warriors quarried famous green stone axes that were traded from the gulf to Adelaide to the west coast and the Daintree forest.”


The Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships is the night before the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest rodeo and the third largest rodeo in the world! In 2023 the event has morphed into a nine day festival, to take place from Saturday August 5 through to Sunday August 13, and will include celebrations marking 100 Years of Mount Isa.


Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships: Thursday August 10, 2023

In partnership with Mona Aboriginal Corporation

Buchanan Park Events Complex, George and Sutton Street, Mt Isa


The Queensland Government is the Principal Partner of the Indigenous Rodeo Championships and Rodeo School Clinic



In 1959, a group of people with passion and an intrinsic sense of potential formed the Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo Inc (MIRRI). Their vision was to put the new, remote town of Mount Isa on the map and raise funds for charity organisations in the new city. Through 63 years of whip-cracking vision and dedication, the event has evolved into legendary status. The event is part of the Australian Professional Rodeo Association’s (APRA’s) national circuit. The event is supported by the Queensland Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland and is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.



The Mount Isa Indigenous Rodeo Championship will be supported by a new volunteer program and accredited certificate program for indigenous youth from north west and north Queensland communities to participate in prior to and during the event. Mona Aboriginal Corporation will run both programs. Areas will include stock handling and back of house rodeo responsibilities, hospitality, security and event management. Mona Aboriginal Corporation was established in March 2011 with the vision to “Empower our Youth of Today for Tomorrow”. It is 100% Indigenous owned and run.


Acknowledging the heritage of Buchanan Park as a ceremonial dancing site, the main arena will be referred to as the Kalkadoon Arena and the traditional owners of this north west region, the Kalkadoon people, will officially open the Rodeo with a Welcome to County and dance performance.


Mount Isa Mines Rodeo FESTIVAL: August 5 to 13, 2023

The Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere


This event is supported by the Queensland Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland



For media enquiries, images, interviews and more please contact Kath Rose | 0416 291 493 |


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