By HARRY CLARKE

SADDLING up at Rockhampton’s Heritage Hotel – nearly 700km from his home pastures – Ollie the loveable Brahman, his mate Collie, and his master John Hawkes will form a friendly welcoming party at BEEF 21.

The close-knit country trio hail from outback Longreach and are sure put plenty of smiles on faces as they parade through the Rocky CBD from 1pm on Sunday, May 2.

John Hawkes is a renowned country musician who’s raised 6-year-old Ollie since he was orphaned at only two days old.

The pair, along with Collie the border collie, have become a favourite attraction at country events – and are used to looking at little bit out of place at times.

The parade will begin on the riverbank outside the Heritage Hotel at 1pm and move along Quay Street, turn up towards the Oxford, then along East Street towards the Giddy Goat.

Their appearance is just event of many on Sunday when the triennial BEEF 21 cattle expo finally gets underway. A full program over events is available here on the Beef Australia website.

Beef Australia chairman Bryce Camm (pictured) said final preparations for the iconic event are now complete.

“This will be the largest event to be held this year in regional Queensland, and we’re very excited that it’s being led by the beef industry, right here in our great beef capital of Rockhampton,” Mr Camm said.

“There are cattle coming from right around the country, right from the depths of South Australia and up into the Northern Territory.

“It is the greatest cattle competion to be hosted in this country and many stud breeders and are very keen to take away the coveted interbreed championship on Thursday afternoon (May 6).

“The event embraces the entire supply chain of the Australian beef industry, which is an industry that is renowned around the world for its quality and consistency of product.

“Beef 21 will be a big event for industry trade and commerce during the week, but also very significant to the Rockhampton and Capricorn region.

“Over the five days of the event we expect that we’ll inject over $100 million into the local economy and that’s a huge shot in the arm for Rocky and our local community.

“It’s a great show of support to our host city for allowing us to come to town and host this great show.”

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