20 years of rugby league in the code’s premier competition will culminate for the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys this weekend, as the club prepares to celebrate its special milestone with sponsors, members, fans and special guests.

With one of the biggest crowds of the season expected to pack 1300SMILES Stadium for Friday night’s Queensland derby against the Brisbane Broncos, the Cowboys will play their anniversary match that will feature a host of 20-year activities.

The weekend’s festivities will continue on Saturday night when the club holds its sold-out 20th anniversary dinner poolside at Jupiters Townsville, welcoming 1,000 members of the Cowboys’ extended family, including current and former players, administration and football staff, as well as valued sponsors, corporate partners and members.

“This is a special time for the club, when we look back on 20 years of rewarding, challenging and sometimes tumultuous times,” Cowboys chief executive officer Peter Jourdain said.

“The Cowboys have grown to be an intrinsic part of the region’s history and culture, but our milestone is all about the people and the community that support us, and who’ve shared our journey.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to our celebrations this weekend and throughout the rest of the season.”

Cowboys v Broncos, Friday 15 May

  • The Cowboys will play for their 200th win since running on for the first time on 11 March 1995. It will be the club’s 499th NRL game.

  • The Cowboys NRL team will wear their 2015 Heritage strip against the Broncos – the jersey features the names of every Cowboy to play NRL from 1995 - 2014.

  • Friday night’s match day sponsor is Toyota and the North Queensland Toyota Dealers, principal sponsors of the Cowboys since 2003.

  • Australian country music icon Lee Kernaghan will perform during pre-game, his performance to include a duet with local teenager Keeley Johnson – Lee also performed at the first game at Stockland Stadium in 1995.

  • Former Townsville local and musician Andy The Kid (Andrew Cole) will perform his tribute to the club, ‘Cowboys Evolution – Rise Up’ at NRL half-time – Andy wrote and recorded the song from his base in Los Angeles.

  • The club’s 20-year book, ‘20 Years in the Saddle’, written by acclaimed author Neil Cadigan, will have its public launch at the game – two versions available: a standard hard-cover edition ($55 / $49 members), and a leatherbound limited edition ($295), numbered and personally signed by six club greats.

20th Anniversary Dinner, Saturday 16 May

  • 1,000 special guests poolside at Jupiters Townsville (open-air event) – sold out

  • Guests include ARL chairman John Grant; Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini and the club’s board of directors; inaugural CEO Kerry Boustead; captains (past and present) Laurie Spina, Paul Bowman, Travis Norton, Johnathan Thurston and Matthew Scott; representatives from principal sponsors Toyota & the NQ Toyota dealers

  • Reunion of the Cowboys Old Boys (player alumni)

  • Announcement of the 20-year Cowboys team

  • Launch of the Cowboys Hall of Fame and an inaugural induction

  • Performance by comedian Dave Hughes

Main image: Andy The Kid (left) and crew (Cowboys Evolution - Rise Up) meet Ben Hannant