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16 April, 2022

Mareeba Rodeo back in action

LOCALS will dust off their cowboy hats as they prepare for one of the southern hemisphere’s biggest rodeos with the Mareeba Rodeo back in action, bringing a smorgasbord of events including the ever-popular downtown parade, queen competition, sideshow alley and more to be enjoyed.

By Rhys Thomas

All the action of the Mareeba Rodeo will be packed into one day in 2022. PHOTO BY PETER ROY.

In recent years the Mareeba Rodeo has been forced to restrict or outright cancel some of their most popular events. 

However, with restrictions now as relaxed as they have been since the start of the pandemic, the Mareeba District Rodeo Association has let the bull out of the gate and gone all in for their one-day rodeo on 9 July. 

Association president Peter Brown said that while things could change in the coming weeks, as it stands right now, the Mareeba Rodeo is back with a full two-week long festival line-up. 

“We’re nervous but also very excited that we’re finally back to where we should have been – the whole package is there,” he said. 

“It wasn’t even a decision, it came down to our social responsibility as an organisation – it was always coming back we just didn’t know if it was this year or next year. 

“Out of everything we have to do, the downtown parade is probably the easiest to manage of all of our whole event.” 

The downtown parade, rodeo queen competition, side-show alley, agricultural show, garden competition, window dressing competition, cowpokes, ute muster, woodchops and art show are just some of the events people can look forward to at this year’s event. 

Although the rodeo has been changed to a one-day event after they excluded Sunday from the program, Mr Brown said it means a more action-packed Saturday night with spectators able to see the qualifying and final rounds all in one sitting. 

This will include the highly popular state of origin competition between maroon and blue bull riders going head-to-head. 

“We had a rodeo last year, which was a one day and financially, it was our best rodeo in over 30 years,” Mr Brown said. 

“The only difference between Saturday and Sunday, is that Sunday is round two, so we’re paying double. “There is no revenue on Sunday, it’s purely cost. If it was your business, why would you do it?” 

The one-day format has no effect on camping, with people still able to spend Friday night at the grounds in preparation for Saturday.

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