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Qld iconic Mareeba Rodeo Festival bush style mix of Aussie action

May 11, 2013
Qld iconic Mareeba Rodeo Festival bush style mix of  Aussie action

For the second year running GoSeeAustralia is pleased to be a major sponsor for Queensland's iconic Mareeba Rodeo and Festival from June 29 to July 14. The first Mareeba Rodeo was held in July 1949 affiliated with the Australian Rough Riders Association (ARRA). The first President was Alan Butler.

Mareeba is on the Atherton Tablelands of North Queenland about 64 kilometres from coastal Cairns. It is 417 metres above sea level. The Rodeo Festival starts with the Junior Cowpokes Competition and Walkamin Country Music Club Concert on Saturday, June 29.

The following weekend sees the Mareeba Rodeo Ball at the RSL on Friday 5 July kicking off a varied weekend of sports and activities including the Art Show, Bocce, Tennis, Indoor Bowls, Lawn Bowls and Golf.

On Saturday July 6 the Rodeo Festival Queen Competition Judging starts at 9.30am. The following week continues events culminating in the Mareeba Rodeo and Agricultural Show and Exhibition. On Friday July 12 is the Mareeba Monster Downtown Parade, Mardi Gras and Crowning ceremony, Byrnes St, Mareeba from 7.45pm.

The Rodeo Festival Queen Competition started in 1959 and is open to unmarried women aged 16-25 years who live in the (former) Mareeba Shire. Entrants are judged on rodeo knowledge, appearance, poise and personality.

The entrants, 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 Downtown Parade and is a widely anticipated part of the rodeo festivities.

The Downtown Parade includes queen entrants, floats, horses and trade displays on the Friday night of the Rodeo weekend and usually attracts big crowds. The Parade starts at 7:45pm and completes two circuits of Byrnes Street. At the conclusion of the parade, the Rodeo Festival Queen is crowned at the main stage.

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 64th Mareeba Rodeo at Kerribee Park, Mareeba from June 29 to July 14 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.

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

It is a country early start from 7.30am on Saturday July 13 and Sunday July 14. 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.

Interstate Teams Rodeo Challenge

The State of Origin Challenge between Queensland and New South Wales competitors is full-on. 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 , for example 2 barrel-racers or 2 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.

This one really has a  kick, Mareeba Rodeo.
This one really has a kick, Mareeba Rodeo.

The Protection Clown Competition is deadly serious. Contestants are judged on their protection ability during the Bull Ride. This is the only sport in the world where competition is based on saving lives and preventing injuries.

During a bull ride, the clown relies on his athletic ability, precision timing and the ability to think and make decisions in milliseconds. These are choices that could mean life or death for either himself or the bull rider, whose life has been placed in his hands.

Points are awarded for anticipating the moves of the bull and extracting the rider to safety once he has dismounted.

The Mareeba Rodeo Weekend is an annual event that will be held on the following dates in coming years: 12-13 July 2014. 11-12 July 2015.

Unique de Brueys turn tropic fruit into fine wines
The Winery and Cellar Door of the the unique de Brueys Boutique Winery and Functions Venue, is located near Mareeba at their 15ha mango orchard on the Atherton Tablelands/Cairns Highlands, North Queensland. Bob and Elaine de Brueys moved to the property from Cairns in the late nineties and the first Cellar Door opened for business in July 2003.

Tropical fruit trees were planted to supply fruit for wines they planned including jaboticaba, lychee, mulberry and bush cherry (native Nth Qld fruit exclusive to de Brueys). Stage Two of the project started in 2005, with the excavation and construction of the underground wine cellar, followed by the new Cellar Door and Function Room.

Bob and Elaine say Mareeba, is an ideal centre in which to live and establish a winery because the area is renowned for its abundance and availability of tropical fruits. It is close to the international airport and tourist centre of Cairns (50 minutes drive by car). Mareeba's high elevation on the Tablelands to the west of Cairns (500m), results in low humidity and cooler days and nights.

de Brueys took out the Best Liqueur trophy with two of their liqueurs at the Australian Fruit Wine Awards with Best Liqeur for their Flagship Coffee Elixir and Tropical Temptation. Their fruit wines are also Aust Fruit Wine Award winners.

de Brueys Boutique Wines is on the Cairns side of Mareeba (2km from the main Highway, off Tinaroo Creek Road).

Driving to Mareeba from Cairns or Kuranda along the Kennedy Highway, turn left into Tinaroo Creek Road at the big shed just before entering Mareeba, then almost immediately right into Fichera Road, following the Boutique Winery signs.

Pioneer Aussie attitude drives success of NQ Golden Drop

In 1975 Charles Nastasi decided to diversify from tobacco and planted his first 3,600 mango treesnear Mareeba on North Queensland's Atherton Tableland. His plantation now has more than 17,500 trees, which makes it one of the biggest mango plantation in Australia.

But when the fruitindustry showed signs of instability Charles chose to diversify into producing commercially viablewine from mangoes. Some thought it could not be done. Making wine from mangoes is technicallyvery different from producing grape wines and required a great deal of research and development.

In 1992 Charles and his two sons, Sam and Dino started researching wine making and established awinery on their Biboohra property, near Mareeba. Golden Pride Wineries successfully launchedtheir first commercial wines a dry, a medium, and a sweet wine in early 1999.

At that time thewinery was the first commercial Mango Winery in the world. Tourists from all over the world nowvisit the winery daily. In addition to tropical mango wines, they enjoy Citrus Cellos, Mango Port,and Golden Mango liqueur style wine.

Our aims were to produce a commercially viable wine from mangoes, and to develop a unique 100percent solely owned and operated Australian tourism attraction and we have succeeded, CharlesNastasi says.

Editors Note: Kensington mangoes date from 1880 at Adelaide Point near Bown. They are alsocalled 'Bowen Special'. It is easily identifiable by its large, bright orange colour, often with a redblush, and its deep orange flesh that is free of fibrous strands.

The Golden Pride Winery is locatedjust 10 minutes North of Mareeba and an hour west of Cairns on the Cairns Highlands region ofTropical North Queensland. The Winery is open to the public seven days a week from 8am to6:30pm (except for Christmas Day, Good Friday and until 1pm ANZAC Day).

Drive north fromMareeba for 10 minutes to Biboohra and then turn right off the highway and follow the signs for 2kmto the Golden Drop Winery.

Atherton Information Centre never says I don't know
The Atherton Information Centre is a fully accredited member of the Queensland Information Centre Association. Located in the centre of the Atherton Tablelands, the Information Centre is positioned near attractions, tours and accommodation on the corner of Main and Silo Roads, Atherton.

Co-ordinator Josephine Williams says the Atherton Information Centre is on a mission to inform locals and visitors alike of all the natural and man made attractions, not just throughout the Atherton Tablelands but also Tropical Queensland.
Our policy is we never say I don't know, she said.
The centre aims to effectively promote local businesses, encourage people to shop locally stay locally and enable them to find local employment.
The centre strives for excellence in all the services and information it provides.
The range of tourism services provided include:
Bookings local, Cape York and Queensland accommodation, tours and attractions.
Itinerary planning.
Tourism packs for individuals and also groups.
Re-location packs for newcomers moving to the area.
Road conditions from the RACQ.
Weather conditions from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Transportation info - bus timetable, taxi details, and bus tours.
Sporting information, venues and times.
Church Services - venues, times and directions.
Doctors, dentists and chemists information.
Fact sheets on local subjects for school children.
Arts and culture - details of art galleries and displays.
Walking and cycling clubs - meetings and areas.
Camping areas - National Parks, caravan parks and campgrounds.
Accommodation including camping, cabins, hotels, motels, bed breakfast, and luxury destinations.
Maps- the centre has Hema maps covering all states of Australia plus UBDs, and motoring books for 4WD and truck drivers.
Bookings for all attractions and accommodation in and around the Atherton Tablelands, Cooktown, Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
Prices of all the major attractions, including Skyrail, the Kuranda Train, hot air ballooning, reef trip companies, horse riding, helicopter flights, microlight flights, scenic flights with light airplanes. Prices of Cape York, Daintree and Cape Tribulation tour companies.
The Atherton Information Centre is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm.
It is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Mareeba Info Centre touring attraction in its own right
Mareeba Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Centre is an attraction in its own right. Sure travellers get their touring questions answered seven days a week, but there is a lot more to the centre at 345 Byrnes St, Centenary Park, Mareeba.

The Museum has 23 displays which include aboriginal culture, a unique motor rail ambulance, settlers hut with memorabilia from the regions history, turn of the century telephone exchange and a printing press. The insights on show also include items from industry, dairy, tobacco, mining and communications. The biggest display, which went into place last year, covers the tobacco industry from 1930 to 2004.

There is also a historic railway carriage and blacksmiths shop in the backyard. This a comfortable North Queensland road touring experience which starts with plenty of parking space, leads to wide cool verandahs with wheelchair access and has the travel essential which is noted in surveys as a must have - clean toilets.

The township of Mareeba is an hours drive via the Kuranda Range road north west of Cairns. The drive passes through amazing landscape changes from the coastal rainforest regions to the savanna bush lands so typical to Australia. From Mareeba the townships of Dimbulah and Chillagoe are about 45 minutes and two hours away respectively.

Chillagoe is renowned for its famous limestone caves and mining history. South from Mareeba through Atherton and Herberton the quiet country roads lead to Irvinebank. At the turn of the century John Moffat controlled a vast mining operation, then equivalent to today's BHP-Billiton, from Irvinebank. Visitors can enter the private world of this legendary financier and tycoon and visit Loudoun House Museum.

The Mareeba Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Centre has the local knowledge to add to the experiences available to visitors. The centre is open from 8am to 4pm.

Looking over the edge, Mareeba Rodeo
Looking over the edge, Mareeba Rodeo
Who is throwing who, Mareeba Rodeo
Who is throwing who, Mareeba Rodeo
Riding for a fall, Mareeba Rodeo
Riding for a fall, Mareeba Rodeo