Each year, towns across Australia host rodeos that attract thousands of visitors.
The history of Australian rodeos can be traced back to the stockmen and drovers who travelled outback stock routes and worked the large cattle stations. Since then, rodeos have developed into large spectacles that attract tens of thousands of tourists each year and support local communities. This list of the best Australian rodeos is just the beginning.
The Barossa Rodeo is an annual event held in South Australia. It includes everything from roping to barrel racing and youth competitions, with plenty of chances for newcomers and seasoned professionals to compete.
With funky live music and lots of food and drink, families will love getting amongst the action. Plus, you can book a helicopter ride to soar over the region for breathtaking views of the valley and the event.
Mount Isa Rodeo
Perhaps the most well-known and well-loved Australian rodeo, Mount Isa Rodeo is an event not to be missed. Since its founding in 1959, it has brought in hundreds of thousands of excited guests, and raised almost $5 million for local charities.
The program features three days of exciting live performances, races and rides. Adults will love the Mount Isa Ball, where you can get dressed up and enjoy an evening of glamour on the floor of the Rodeo Arena.
This year also marked the second year of the Mount Isa Indigenous Rodeo Championships, which showcased the incredible talent of Indigenous competitors and the stories of Indigenous stockmen and women. The lineup of performances included Jessica Mauboy, the Fundamentals and The Screaming Jets, as well as Indigenous dance groups.
This event is fun for the whole family, and an important part of the local community, showcasing clubs, not-for-profit groups and schools in the region.
Dirt n Dust Festival
The Dirt n Dust Festival is an annual event in Julia Creek, which has been celebrating the spirit of Queensland for 28 years.
Visiting this festival, guests will encounter concerts, races, and Australia’s best butt competition. Dirt n Dust is also the home of the DnD Adventure Run, where competitors take on an outback obstacle course through mud and dirt. It’s all about having a good time and embracing the character of the outback.
At the Julia Creek arena, visitors can watch the Dirt n Dust rodeo. Considered to be one of the toughest Australian rodeos, this competition will send hearts racing and adrenaline pumping. With a vibrant soundtrack and impressive feats pulled off by expert riders, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Kapunda is less than an hour from Adelaide, making it a convenient and accessible location for the next rodeo. Last year, more than 5000 visitors converged on this small town to watch the bull rides and cheer on their favourite competitors.
Unlike most of the other events on this list, the Kapunda Rodeo takes place under a sky full of stars. For one night a year, the rodeo reigns supreme, supported by a petting zoo, face painting and rides for the kids. There’s also plenty of food on offer from local vendors and a licensed bar, meaning this will surely be a night to remember.
Bedourie Bull & Bronc Pit
The Bedourie Bull & Bronc Pit is a relatively new event on the rodeo scene. Local riders come together to compete for the jackpot prize, putting their talents to the test in a range of different competitions.
Young riders can make their debut on this rodeo circuit, and local businesses set up stalls for everyone to enjoy.
The first Goulburn Rodeo was held in 1942 to raise funds for the local community, and in 1968 the official Goulburn Rodeo Club was established. Since then, the club has hosted more than 50 spectacular rodeos, attracting audiences from around the country and establishing themselves as one of the biggest rodeo clubs around.
Funds raised by these events are given straight back to the community. Since 2000, this has added up to $100,000, highlighting just how important the rodeo is for locals. The Goulburn Ride-a-Thon is held in February each year, judged by riders, spectators and officials. It’s considered one of the best and longest-running rodeos in the country, and when you experience the show, it’s not hard to see why.
Want to learn more about Australian rodeos? Click here to discover the colourful characters of the Mount Isa Rodeo.