Events are back in outback Queensland and organisers, locals and tourists are chomping at the bit to get people back out in their communities.
After more than a year of pandemic-related cancellations, good news has come out of Mount Isa in Queensland’s north west with the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo launched and ready to bring dollars back to the region.
The rodeo is famed as the biggest in the southern hemisphere and this year will boast headliners Guy Sebastian and Lee Kernaghan with Australian talent the flavour of the year amidst travel restrictions.
Excitement is already building in the outback town with larger events back on the cards.
The rodeo follows Birdsville’s Big Red Bash which sold out earlier this year and Boulia’s camel races which are expected to see record crowds.
At the launch of the 2021 rodeo, local Rick Windsor said the biggest thing he missed last year was the community coming together.
He said 2021 would be his first year competing at the Isa rodeo.
“It’ll be my first run, so it should be good,” he said.
Mount Isa Rodeo chief executive officer Natalie Flecker’s priority was making sure this year’s event “lived up” to the past.
“We really wanted to work and find [artists] that would be exciting for not only the community, but visitors to travel to Mount Isa for,” Ms Flecker said.
“I think even the arena is crying out to have some horses and bulls running around it.
“Tickets went on sale for 2021 Mount Isa Mines at 9am and it only took 46 minutes to smash the 2019 first-day ticket sale record.”
Tourists expected to pour in
Queensland’s Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the population of Mount Isa was expected to more than double for the event, to be held from August 12 to 15.
“This outback Queensland destination event brings cowboys and cowgirls from across Australia … swelling the town’s population,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“We expect the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo to contribute around $10 million to Mount Isa’s tourist economy and encourage visitors to spend longer in outback Queensland.”
In a statement, Sebastian said he was happy to be leading the artists, taking the Friday night stage spot.
“I can’t wait to join you in August in the red dirt of the Queensland outback for this year’s Mount Isa Mines Rodeo,” Sebastian said.
Outback Queensland Tourism Association chief executive officer Denise Brown said events would build strong tourism economies in 2021.
“Events are critical to outback Queensland and even more so when events such as Isa rodeo build in outback itineraries to provide pre and post-travel [options],” Ms Brown said.
“[They] build strong tourism economies and increased nights in regions across the outback.”