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Indigenous Rodeo Riders Set to Compete for $300,000 in Prize Money

[supplied by Kath Rose]


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. Image: Stephen Mowbray


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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.







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