By HARRY CLARKE
9 August 2021
FOLLOWING on from an action packed stop off at Cloncurry, the best cowboys and cowgirls from across Australia are now riding west to Mount Isa for the Australian Professional Rodeo Association’s (APRA) blue riband event.
The Mount Isa Mines Rodeo, returning this weekend after being cancelled in 2020, puts more than $230,000 up for grabs across eight rodeo events, running from August 12 to 15.
As well as a share in the mega prize pool, riders are vying for crucial rankings on APRA’s national 2021 competition and a prestigious winning belt buckle from the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest rodeo.
“It’s definitely the one on our rodeo calendar that you want to win,” said APRA president Shane Iker (pictured).
“It’s the one that everyone talks about and it’s got the biggest reputation by far. It’s always the one that everyone wants to go to and get the buckle.”
Mr Iker said APRA’s northern rodeo circuit, which includes events in Richmond, Charters Towers and Cloncurry, had delivered intense competition in the arena.
“The entries have been record breaking and the competition has been phenomenal,” he said.
“Times have been as low as I’ve ever seen and as fast as I’ve ever seen and the quality of competition and stock is just unbelievable.
“These two rodeos up here, Cloncurry and Mount Isa, with the money that’s up and the entries that we get, you could jump from 20th, right up to number one or two if you have a good weekend.”
“There’s a lot riding on it. If you have a good weekend up here, anything can happen.”
In the All Round Cowboy standings, Victorian rider Terry Evison has maintained a strong lead throughout the season.
North Queensland brothers Lachlan and Brady Smith are in strong form while Ariat sponsored duo Shane Kenny and Campbell Hodson (main picture) have strong histories at Mount Isa.
Hodson, who won the All Round Cowboy competition for the past three years, currently sits at number 10 in the APRA standings and said he was hoping for a strong finish to circuit.
He came fourth in the rope and tie event at Cloncurry on Saturday.
“It’s been pretty hot competition up here. It’s probably the best rodeo we’ve had for a long time,” Hosdon said.
“The next couple of weeks will have a fair bit to do with it. There’s plenty money to be won at Mount Isa and then we go to Townsville the following weekend, so that will play a fairly big part in the standings.”
Georgie Kapeller and Leanne Caban are neck-and-neck in the All Round Cowgirl standings, while Cherie O’Donoghue and Candy Michaelis lead a tight Barrel Racing competition.
Mount Isa Mines Rodeo CEO Natalie Frecker said nervous organisers were immensely relieved for the rodeo to have been approached by Queensland Health despite last week’s lockdown in the South East.
“It’s a challenging time for events across the country, but the Isa Rodeo executive team and board have worked tirelessly to ensure not only with this year be another iconic event in the red dirt arena, but one that is a leader in covid safe event practices,” she said.
“We have worked hard to ensure that we will create a safe but fun environment for all our visitors, staff, judges and competitors.”