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1972 World Champion Bull Rider John Quintana killed in Australian Plane Crash…

1972 World Champion Bull Rider John Quintana killed in Australian Plane Crash…


Rodeo Country News Centre….Pro Rodeo News….


Plane crash robs bush of two characters

John Quintana bull riding at Cheyenne in 1972

John Quintana, who was killed in a plane crash near Roma, Queensland yesterday, bull riding at Cheyenne in 1972. Source:Supplied

John Quintana was an American cowboy — a world rodeo champion — who came to Australia and prospered in the outback beef industry, but his life was cut short when he was killed in a light plane crash at Roma yesterday morning.

Quintana and another rural identity, Charlie Maher, the head of Ray White Livestock, had just taken off from Roma Airport in a Cessna 210 when they crashed at 5.25am just 2km from the airfield.

The plane, piloted by Quintana, was headed to Cloncurry in northwest Queensland and then to the Northern Territory.

Air safety investigators were due in Roma, about 500km west of Brisbane, yesterday afternoon, to establish the cause of the crash, but early signs were the engines failed shortly after take-off.

Quintana, 62, was generally reckoned to have had a Spanish background before his family went to the US and then he came to Australia, but he was actually a Basque, a group from the north of Spain who’ve never quite accepted Spanish nationality.

Basque country is also where the running of the bulls takes place and possibly this background always stuck with Quintana, as after spending his childhood years on a ranch in Oregon, he became infatuated with riding bulls, and worked the rodeo circuit in the US until he became world bull-riding champion in 1972.

After he tired of making a living refusing to be bucked off the back of a bull, he turned his hand to cattle trading, and in the late 1970s made his first trip to Australia, where he liked what he saw.

He returned 10 years later and purchased the the giant Waterloo station in the Kimberleys, Australia’s northwest being the sort of place where a world rodeo champion would be at home.

He spent the next decade in the northwest and in the Northern Territory, buying Killarney station in 2001 for about $21 million, a high price at the time as live cattle export into southeast Asian was still gaining impetus. While he had a few good years, he suffered terribly in the late 1990s as the market crashed.

But he survived and found new markets in Asia and sold Killarney in 2007, although the property has recently gone into receivership under the new owners.

In 2007, Quintana had moved to Beaudesert, south of Brisbane, and two years ago moved to another property near Toowoomba, where he based himself.

Ray White rural co-founder Lex Heinemann said that in the small world of the beef industry and rural property, Quintana was a larger-than-life character.

“He was a big personality, a good bloke to have a beer with, a very, very likeable bloke. Up in the territory they loved all that stuff about him being a rodeo champion,” he said.

Maher, 48, was based in Bathurst in central NSW, and built up his own rural business before working for rural agency Landmark, from which he moved to be chief executive of Ray White Livestock three years ago.

Ray White Rural’s Bruce Smith said his loss was a tragedy, not just for the company but for the whole livestock area.

“Both those blokes were really well respected within the industry, and to lose them both in the one accident is a huge tragedy,” he said.


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