Wondering how you can experience the best of Queensland’s outback?
We recommend rounding up the troops for a road trip to Roma coinciding with one of the region’s premier racing events.
Whether you’ve got the kids in the back, your mates by your side or you’re travelling solo – there’s a race for every man and his horse out back.
The Roma Turf Club is home to nine racing events that keep calendar’s full from February to November each year.
Read on for everything you need to know about the Roma races.
1. Sydeva Haulage Bendemere Cup, February
You won’t get a truer country racing experience than Roma’s first meeting of the year – the Bendemere Cup.
Celebrating the original Bendemere community of Wallumbilla and Yuleba, this event attracts hundreds of revellers from across the region.
Akubras and R.M Williams are not necessary, but encouraged, as you join locals and see horses take to the tracks for the popular annual five-race program.
2. Picnic Races, March
If you consider fashion a language, then the Picnic Races in March will be right up your racetrack.
Find your fanciest fascinator and be sure to dress to impress for this busy weekend of events both on and off the track.
Kicking off with a black-tie ball on the Friday night with dinner and live entertainment, the main event follows suit with gates opening just before lunch on the Saturday with more food and beverages to enjoy as you watch the action unfold on the racecourse.
3. XXXX Easter Races, Easter Saturday, April
What do you get when you mix horse races, with Easter and a trip to the country?
A five-day family-friendly festival of spectacular shows, action-packed activities, culinary experiences, and outback entertainment, of course.
With a street parade and everything from pony rides to patting zoos, parents can kick back with a cold one and watch the action on the racetrack from the stalls.
4. Roma Rugby Races, June
Consider yourself a competitive all-round sports fanatic?
The Roma Rugby Races mixes rugby and horse racing for an action-packed day at the Roma Turf Club each June.
Spend the day cheering on the local rugby teams battling it out on the field, before watching the horses take to the track as the sun goes down.
This race kicks off the first event of the Winter Carnival, so be sure to bring your best winter coats along.
5. Fillies and Families Race Day, July
If you’ve got the whole family in the car for a road trip to Roma – plan your getaway so the Fillies and Families Race Day is your final destination.
The event is run by Roma State College, meaning there’s a strong focus on entertainment for the kids, with lots of activities, games, and famous faces like bluey and dingo showing up throughout the day.
Anyone under the age of 18 can get in for free.
6. Cities Race Day, July
Don’t be fooled by the name – you’ve still got to travel about 600 kilometres from the closest capital city to get to this Cities Race Day in July.
Run by the local rugby league club, this premier event of the Winter Carnival brings in revellers from all over the state as they bring the party to town.
Bring your best winter fashion along, you might be a while away from the nearest CBD, but the dress standard certainly doesn’t drop when it comes to fashions on the field.
7. St Johns School Race Day, August
St John’s School Race Day will put the ”are we there yet’s” well and truly to bed if you’re passing through in August.
Tire the kids out on the jumping castle, enjoy fashions on the field, and soak up the sunshine trackside or enjoy the shade and local delicacies on offer at the Luncheon.
All proceeds from the Luncheon tickets go straight to the local school and includes a drinks, meal, and entertainment package.
8. Royal on 99 Roma Cup, November
You really haven’t been to the races in Roma if you haven’t been to the Roma Cup, Roma’s premier racing event.
Nothing will stop thousands of loyal racegoers sweltering through 40C heat and dramatic weather conditions either, with accommodation in town booking out months prior and pop-up marques, blow-up pools and Utes set to pack out the Turf Club.
There’ll be plenty of entertainment with fashions on the field, cranking country music, and intense competition on the track, with more than $190,000 in total prize money up for grabs on the day.
Top tip, purchase the members’ ticket – there’s no price too high for aircon nearby when your shirt starts to become see-through.
9. McDonalds Christmas Races, December
Bring in the end of the year on a high and see in the last event of the Roma 2021 racing calendar at the McDonalds Christmas Races.
Change up your Christmas plans this year and head west where traditional racing meets Outback Queensland.
The five-race program includes activities for kids – as well as a special visit from Santa himself!