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12 July, 2022

Rodeo a raging success

THERE were clear skies, bucking bulls, fierce competition and a record crowd at this year’s Mareeba Rodeo which was hailed a massive success as thousands of people flocked to Kerribee Park on Saturday to witness all the rodeo action in one jam-packed day.

By Rhys Thomas

Mareeba Rodeo 2022

Kicking off on Friday night with the Downtown Parade, locals lined Byrnes Street to watch all the floats parade the street for the first time in three years since the 2019 event, with Mareeba Kids Campus taking out the prize for Best Overall Float. 

All 14 rodeo queen entrants participated in the parade, which culminated in the announcement of the 2022 Rodeo Queen which went to Maia Gambino, with Alannah Falvo crowned as Princess and Mia Gonzalez as Miss Popularity. 

Maia was overwhelmed with the accolade, saying she was thrilled to be part of the experience alongside all the other entrants. 

“It is definitely worth it for young children and it got me out of my comfort zone, it is something I wouldn’t normally do – I am super excited about the win,” she said. 

Saturday marked the beginning of a massive day of non-stop rodeo action from steer wrestling through to the open bull ride, Rooftop Express and Mazda Challenge, finishing off with a State of Origin competition which was won by Queensland. 

While exact attendance numbers are unknown, Mareeba Rodeo Association president Peter Brown said it was the biggest crowd he had seen, forcing the opening a carpark area that had never been used before needed to cater to the massive number of patrons attending the event. 

“It was the biggest crowd we have ever had and our camping was absolutely chockers, so that is how we know we had record numbers,” he said. 

“It went very smoothly, it was a big day and a big night and after speaking to a lot of people about the entertainment factor, people were rapt they got three days’ worth of entertainment in one day. 

“You pay top dollar at other shows and you only get so much whereas we had State of Origin, rodeo finals, Rooftop Express plus all the rounds, woodchops and show tents – the value for money was amazing.” 

The crowd wasn’t the only thing that was up, with competitors from across Australia travelling far and wide to compete in one of Queensland’s biggest rodeos. 

“Competitor numbers were up from last year but compared to pre-Covid numbers, they were probably down,” Mr Brown said. 

“As an event organiser it went very smoothly and it went pretty much as planned, It was a huge success.” 

At the end of the night, it was Cameron Southern who emerged on top as the Champion Cowboy and the winner of the Open Bull Ride and Open Saddle Bronc competitions, while Jemma Dowling was named this year’s Champion Cowgirl. 

Positive effects from the rodeo were felt across town in the lead up to the event as locals got into the rodeo spirit. Businesses like Claude Cater Mensland, which sell all the hats, jeans, boots, shirts and buckles any excited rodeo goer could need, experienced a noticeable uptake in sales. 

“Definitely two or three weeks prior to the Mareeba Rodeo, it gets even more busy for us – people come in to buy western shirts, jeans, boots, hats,” Robert Cater said. 

The Jackaroo Motel had all 26 rooms booked out for eight days leading up to the rodeo, with people calling to try to book rooms just days before the rodeo. Managers Carole and Grant Daly have managed the Jackaroo for the past three years and said it was the busiest they had ever seen the motel. 

“I was totally booked out for the rodeo for the past six months and was inundated with phone call after phone call by people trying to book rooms,” Carole said. 

Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin described the rodeo as “part of the fabric of the community”, delivering significant social and community benefits to the town.

“The economic benefit of the Mareeba Rodeo extends beyond the visible increase in visitor numbers and, therefore, spending in the town,” she said.

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