Opening showcases the north west

After years of planning and 12 months construction, Mount Isa’s $17 million Buchanan Park redevelopment was officially opened on Friday 25 May, 2007. The facility now includes a 5,000 seat rodeo stadium and the Xstrata Entertainment Centre. It was designed to ensure the Mount Isa Rodeo remains among the top three rodeo events in the world.

Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, opened the rodeo stadium together with Mount Isa Mayor, Councillor Ron McCullough; Mount Isa MP, Betty Kiernan; and Kalkadoon elder, Richard Percy. After arriving at the stadium in a Cobb & Co stagecoach, they ceremoniously cut a 50 metre red ribbon. The official opening was followed by displays of local talent, including dancing, horsemanship, BMX riding and live entertainment.

“A highlight of the entertainment was local, William Barton, who is one of Australia’s finest didgeridoo players,” said Mount Isa CEO, Michael Dougall. “He enthralled the crowd with his performance.”

Official guests then left the stadium for the official opening of the Xstrata Entertainment Centre, which was opened by Xstrata Copper’s Chief Executive Officer, Charlie Sartain. The crowd was entertained by local band, the Pluckers, before a concert by Kate Cebrano.

“Kate said that she enjoyed performing in regional centres and from the crowd’s reaction, Mount Isans enjoyed having her here,” Michael Dougall said.

On Saturday and Sunday, the rodeo stadium was put to use for the first time. It hosted a round of the Australian Professional Rodeo Riders Association (APRA) National Circuit Finals Rodeo. The event served as a test run for the Mount Isa rodeo that will be held in August. The arena was given the thumbs up by all cowboys who took part in the rodeo.

On Saturday night there was more entertainment for the crowd, with a concert after the rodeo finished. Michael Dougall said the weekend activities showed off the full potential of the new facilities and how they can be used.

The re-development was funded by the Federal Government through the Regional Partnerships Programme, the Queensland Government, Mount Isa City Council and Xstrata.