By HARRY CLARKE

EXPERIENCE was the difference in determining the winners at rodeo’s most prestigious event, as it was veterans of the sport who won both the open barrel racing and open bull ride at the 2021 Mount Isa Mines Rodeo.

Cowgirl Kerrie Holder (Cootamundra, NSW) and rough rider Troy Atkinson (Upper Horton, NSW) claimed the Southern Hemisphere’s largest prize money from Queensland’s iconic outback event. 

“There are 70-odd entries here and great prize money. It’s the one to win,” an elated Holder told the Caller as she clutched the sparkling trophy buckle for the first time in her career.

Fellow barrel racing veteran Candy Michaelis (Lewiston, SA) was leading after round one and was primed to win her first Isa Rode victory on Sunday afternoon before Holder’s blistering final run on the the gelding “Dually” put her in front overall.

She said it as an honour to finally be victorious in the north western rodeo arena.

“In barrel racing you don’t know how you’ve gone until the last run,” Holder (picture) said.

“Dually was great. He did nicely. He’s a 14-year-old quarter horse that we got from a cutting place and he’s just a beauty. He loves his job.

“The people, the competition and the horses here are just great. Training the horses and having them work for you, and try hard for you, is what I love about this sport.”

Troy Wilkinson marks 83.50pts on board ‘Forever Amen’ to make it three from three to be the 2021 Mount Isa Mines Bull Ride Champion. IMAGE: Stephen Mowbray

For Troy Wilkinson, victory at Buchannan Park and taking home $30,000 has been a career highlight. 

At the age of 30 he’s one of the older cowboys on the circuit and one of its most consistent performers.

He said with a record number of entrants vying for the $30,000 winning prize pool, there was huge pressure over the weekend.

“I’ve been thinking about Mount Isa for a long time now and to finally get the win feels great. I’m stoked.” Wilkinson said.

“The best come to Mount Isa. The number of entries is outstanding. You’re up against really stiff competition.

“You’ve got a great pen of bulls and there are so many variables in the stock you draw. You have to get on two bulls to make the final and you’ve got to get on another bull in the final.

“To bring it all together is a tough gig and when you do that, and it pays off, it’s a great feeling. It’s why we ride bulls.”

A full list of rodeo winners are available on the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo website and Facebook page.

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