By HARRY CLARKE
THOUSANDS of northern revellers let their hair down at the “Mailman Express” spectacle on the Thurdsay evening of Mount Isa Mines Rodeo week.
It was also a night when four legends of the iconic event were inducted into its new, prestigious hall of fame.
The Mailman Express is a thrilling dash of steed and rider in a once-a-year time trial of bush horses, which have never raced professionally.
It’s also an opportunity for punters to make a quick buck – guests can have some skin in a the game through a Calcutta.
Here are a few happy snaps from the night…
FOUR ADDED TO HALL OF FAME
Legendary rodeo competitors and Rotarians who have created a lasting legacy were inducted into the Isa Rodeo Hall of Fame at Outback at Isa on Thursday night.
Isa Rodeo CEO Natalie Flecker said the four 2021 inductees had made an incredible contribution to the rodeo itself and the sport of rodeo.
“We are very proud to announce the 2021 inductees for this year when we celebrate a return to the Buchanan Park Arena for the 62 nd Isa Rodeo,” said Ms Flecker.
The inductees are rodeo legends Jim McGuire and Tony Hecksher and Rotarians Bob (Robert J) Keoghan and Jim O’Shea.
Tony Hecksher from Marburg, (Queensland) was a record-breaking Bareback Bronc rider. Early in his career he won a rodeo scholarship with the Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas.
He went on to compete on the Pro Rodeo Circuit all over Australia and North America for 21 years, including the Calgary Stampede, Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and Mount Isa Rodeo back home.
In 1990 he made history when he won 37 Bareback Bronc Riding events throughout the Pro Tour series, won three rounds at the National Finals Rodeo to win the aggregate and his first Australian Bareback Bronc Riding title.
Tony went on to win the title again in 1991, 2000 and 2001 and equals a record four Australian Bareback
Riding titles with Allen Heath and Ross Piper.
Aged 18, Tony first rode bareback broncs at Mount Isa Rodeo in 1981. He was bucked off in the first round that year but over the next 22 years he competed 15 times and never bucked off another horse at the Isa Rodeo.
He qualified for the finals every year winning the Championship a record eight times and was runner up on three occasions.
Known as the `Ironman of Rodeo,’ Jim was one of the most successful competitors in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA).
Born in Ipswich in 1937, he moved to the Taroom area and worked as a stockman.
In 1956, he joined the Australia Roughriders Association and was renowned as a very versatile competitor. A real all-rounder, competing in every event at most rodeos.
Jim, with his wife Marg, and their children Danny and Sharon, travelled all over Australia on the APRA rodeo circuit for many years.
From 1967 – 1976, McGuire set a remarkable record by qualifying each year in all standard events at the National Finals Rodeo.
He was all round champion five times in the years 19967, 1969, 1970, 1975, and 1976.
He was Saddle Bronc riding champ in 1969, Bareback riding champ in 1969, Steer Wrestling champion in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1972.
He served as Saddle Bronc Riding Director in 1970-71. Jim died of cancer on 1 January, 1980 and was buried at Taroom.
BOB (Robert J) KEOGHAN
A Rotarian for over 35 years, Bob generously contributed in the substantial growth and success of the Isa Rodeo. He always offered his cranes, trucks and labour for the ongoing expansion and maintenance of the Rodeo grounds.
Rotarian Jim O’Shea was passionate about supporting the Isa Rodeo since its earliest days. Born in Melbourne where he trained as a builder before moving to Mount Isa and working for Mount Isa Mines before setting up his own construction company.
Jim married a local lady Lillian Rosevear in 1959, the year of the first Isa Rodeo and as a local businessman and Rotarian he was keenly involved right from those early years.
He spent almost 20 years in various roles including Assistant Arena Director, took over from Ted Davies as Arena Director and later Chairman. He was also President of the Mount Isa Rotary Club.
This involvement with the rodeo lasted right until he left Mount Isa in 1977.
Not only did he fill these positions but Jim happily volunteered countless hours on working bees at Kalkadoon and Carandotta Station, and enjoyed getting hands on fixing fences and helping out where needed.
Unfortunately Jim passed away in 1996 from mesothelioma, but his contribution to the Isa Rodeo will always be remembered.