2020 Mount Isa Rodeo alive and bucking with online format

Competitors chase $30,000 in prizemoney via video entries.

This year’s Mount Isa Mines Rodeo will ride again as a virtual event after some creative thinking by organisers.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest rodeo was cancelled as a live event.

However, organisers will host the Mount Isa Mines Virtual Rodeo to keep the event’s spirit alive until it returns next year.

Mount Isa Mines Rodeo Chief Executive Officer Natalie Flecker said the Virtual Rodeo would be available for viewing on the Mount Isa Rodeo website on 7-9 August – the same three days the original event was scheduled. 

“We hope it captures the imagination of our cowboys and cowgirls, who are fiercely competitive and passionate about their sport – and to our rodeo audience who would normally make the trip to Mount Isa to enjoy everything that the Isa Rodeo week has to offer,” Ms Flecker said.

“As a free virtual event, it will also hopefully reach thousands more who are interested in rodeo, and who will see what the fuss is about.”

A Mount Isa Rodeo spokesperson said the broadcast would be about three hours each day and feature videos submitted by competitors in 16 categories from poddy calf to bull riding.

Mount Isa Rodeo

For roughstock events, including bull ride and saddle bronc, competitors must submit a video of themselves competing in a sanctioned event from the past two years.

For timed events, including barrel race and steer wrestle, entry is also via video submission, however competitors will be given a time-based code when they are ready to record their entry. Videos must be filmed and submitted within 15 minutes of receiving the code.

All competitors will be assessed from the videos by judges with the winners sharing in a prize pool of $30,000 and claiming coveted Mount Isa Rodeo buckles.

“We will still have our normal judges and they will judge the video without hearing any commentary and will use slightly altered judging criteria to reflect the different conditions the competitors are being judged under,” the spokesperson said.

Organisers hope rodeo fans will gather in groups over the three days for “watch” parties.

“We wanted to do something that will still connect us with the competitors and our rodeo fans,” the spokesperson said.

“We would love for rodeo fans, family and friends to get together and have a ‘watch’ party. This is really the only competition we have as there are no rodeos on at the moment.”

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The Mount Isa Rodeo was first held in 1959 and this is the first year it has not been held.

The Virtual Rodeo will not only provide rodeo action for starved fans it will also be an opportunity to showcase the region thanks to the support of Tourism and Events Queensland.

“The broadcast will include footage from Mount Isa and the Queensland outback so it is not just about the rodeo.

“It will also include interviews with some of the top competitors. We are putting a real effort into making a good broadcast and it is not just about the competition.

“It’s something for competitors and rodeo fans, hopefully, from around the world.”

Competitors can submit entries for the Virtual Rodeo from 6–17 July on the Mount Isa Rodeo website.