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No passing buck bush 'can do' makes Mareeba Rodeo Australian icon in Queensland North

May 30, 2012
No passing buck bush 'can do' makes Mareeba Rodeo Australian icon in Queensland North

In 1949, in typical bush style, the Mareeba Rodeo pioneer committee used do-it-yourself, muscle, sweat and whatever was handy to get the show rolling. This meant that the first secretary's office was a big marquee and some of the fencing was early model cars parked in a semi-circle.

Now the 63rd Mareeba Rodeo at Kerribee Park, Mareeba from Saturday July 14 to Sunday July 15 is a National icon on the Australian rodeo calendar. Mareeba Rodeo is the Far North Queensland Australian Bushmen's Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA) Championship.

It is a country early start from 7.30am on both days. The rodeo will finish at about 9.30pm on the Saturday and 5pm on the Sunday. Sections of the Bull Ride competition are held throughout the day and on the Saturday night. The full program of events and heats leads to the Open finals on Sunday afternoon.

Rodeo events include bull ride, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, ladies and junior events also the Comedy Clown, Mazda Teams Relay, Interstate Rodeo Challenge Qld-v-NSW, Beaut Ute Muster, Woodchops, StudBeef Cattle Show and the Agricultural Show Exhibition Marquee.

Mareeba is on the Atherton Tablelands of North Queenland about 64 kilometres from coastal Cairns. It is 417 metres above sea level.

The buck started in July 1949 with the first Mareeba Rodeo affiliated with the Australian Rough Riders Association (ARRA). Mareeba Rodeo has become an icon sporting event in Tropical North Queensland.

With related events it is an Outback experience for stayers.

The Mareeba Rodeo Festival starts on June 30 with the Junior Cowpokes Competition, Walkamin Country Music Club Concert and Horse Sports Gymkhana at Kerribee Park.

The following weekend includes the Mareeba Rodeo Ball on Friday July 6 kicking off a varied weekend of sports and activities including the Art Show, Cycle Races, Bocce, Tennis, Indoor Bowls, Lawn Bowls, Golf, Country Western Concert and Cutting Events continue the following week as well as the Stud Beef Cattle Show, Agricultural Show, Woodchops and the Ute Muster culminating in the Mareeba Rodeo itself at Kerribee Park on Saturday 14 July and Sunday 15 July.

The Ute Muster held in conjunction with the Mareeba Rodeo at Kerribee Park gives passionate owners the chance to display their ute's and win prizes. Muster Hours are between 9am to 5pm on Saturday and 9am to 2pm on Sunday.

Categories include Street Ute, BS Ute, Chick's Ute, 4x4 Ute, Work Ute, Feral Ute, Classic Ute and Best Graphics.

The Parade of queen entrants, floats, horses and trade displays is held on the Friday night of the Rodeo weekend and usually attracts crowds of around 4000. The Parade starts at 7.45pm and completestwo circuits of Byrnes Street. At the conclusion of the parade the Rodeo Festival Queen is crowned at the main stage. Rodeo Festival Queen Competition.

Who is throwing who, Mareeba Rodeo
Who is throwing who, Mareeba Rodeo

This competition started in 1959 and is open to single girls in the (former) Mareeba Shire. Entrants are judged on rodeo knowledge, appearance, poise and personality. The girls, along with the Matrons of Honour, attend many functions during Festival Week. The announcement of the Queen, Princess and Most Popular Entrant is made after the Friday night Parade and is a popular part of the rodeo festivities.

The Interstate Teams Rodeo Challenge is a State of Origin Challenge between Queensland and New South Wales competitors. Teams compete in Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc, Steer Wrestling, Barrel Race and Breakaway Roping.

Team members are matched against an opponent and that is the only person they have to beat to gain points for their team. Time event competitors compete side by side e.g. two barrel-racers or two steer-wrestlers at the same time so spectators can see who wins the match-up for their team.

Points are awarded for each match-up - win 2, lose 1, no score 0. A scoreboard allows spectators to see up to date results of their team throughout the program.

Mareeba is 64km (about an hour) west of Cairns. Mareeba is also less then 30 minutes from Atherton, and under an hour from Port Douglas and the Cairns Northern Beaches. The Mareeba area, Gateway to the Gulf of Carpentaria, covers 52,585 square kilometres and is one of the largest shires in Queensland.

Mareeba isan aboriginal name for 'Meeting of the Waters' and was first settled in 1877. Mareeba is known for its tropical fruits, sugar cane, coffee, mining and cattle.

All the best from the Bush, Mareeba Rodeo.
All the best from the Bush, Mareeba Rodeo.

Mareeba has a diverse range of cultural and recreational experiences which include hot air balloon flights and cable car rides over the rainforest. It is a popular tourist destination with attractions like the Warbirds Aeroplane Museum and the nearby Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve.

The Mareeba Wetlands wildlife reserve which is also nearby is a popular spot for birdwatching. Mareeba operates as a service centre for the surrounding area including the towns of Kuranda and Dimbulah.

Over the Rodeo weekend Kerribee Park Camping Grounds, about 4km out of town, is free (fees apply at any other time). A weekend rodeo pass must be purchased in order to camp overnight. There are more than 100 powered sites and many unpowered sites. No bookings are taken.

The Kerribee Park Camping Grounds 614 Dimbulah Rd., Mareeba are 2.5km from the Dimbulah/Mossman Road intersection or 4km from Mareeba Post Office. Pets are permitted on a lead and must be under control and cleaned up after at all times. The wild kangaroos that graze at Kerribee Park are a night time tourist attraction and must not be disturbed in any way.

There are two caravan parks in Mareeba- Mareeba Country Caravan Park in Emerald End Rd and Mareeva Riverside Caravan Park in Egan St. Cairns and Port Douglas are less than an hour by bitumen road away.

Looking over the edge, Mareeba Rodeo
Looking over the edge, Mareeba Rodeo

Family Passes to the Mareeba Rodeo cannot be purchased at the gate. They must be pre-purchased from the Rodeo Office, A Touch of Country, Mareeba News or Caters Mensland.

The gate is manned from Friday morning July 13 right through to Sunday July 16 afternoon. Anyone coming in from Friday morning, until 7am Saturday will have to purchase a weekend pass.

Day passes are only available from 7am on the day of arrival and do not permit entrance to the camping area. Kerribee Park is a glass free area so please don't bring in any glass bottles. BYO alcohol must be left (and consumed) in your vehicle or at your campsite.

During the day the average Mareeba July temperature is 25.4C (highest 34.9C), but the temperature drops down to an average 11C at night (lowest 0.7C). So take a hat and sunscreen for the day and a coat for the night. Cairns is a 65 kilometres drive to the east and Atherton is 30 kilometres to the south both via the Kennedy Hwy. Travelling north on the Peninsula Development Road, Port Douglas is about 95 kilometres by sealed road. The Gulf Savannah Way runs 135 kilometres west to Chillagoe on mostly sealed roads.

Win free tickets to Mareeba Rodeo
GoSee is a major sponsor of the 63rd Mareeba Rodeo to be held at Mareeba Showgrounds Qld on 14th 15th July 2012. Stay tuned to our Facebook page as we will have some FREE tickets to give away over the next few weeks
GoSeeAustralia has 6 x Adult tickets and 6 x Child tickets (aged 3 - 17 yrs) for free admission on the Saturday or Sunday to give away.
To win ticketsjust LIKE GoSeeAustralia Facebook page and comment why you would like to win a tickets to Mareeba Rodeo. Winners will be drawn at random. Complimentary tickets will be dispatched by express post to the lucky GoSee followers.

Editors Note: is a Mareeba Rodeo sponsor.

Beaut Ute, Mareeba Rodeo.
Beaut Ute, Mareeba Rodeo.
Hillbilly Deluxe, Mareeba Rodeo.
Hillbilly Deluxe, Mareeba Rodeo.
Mareeba Rodeo grounds.
Mareeba Rodeo grounds.
We  have  lift-off Huston, Mareeba Rodeo.
We have lift-off Huston, Mareeba Rodeo.
Riding for a fall, Mareeba Rodeo
Riding for a fall, Mareeba Rodeo