Crowds have arrived early this year to transform the tiny town of Birdsville in far south-west Queensland as it prepares for the start of its famous outback race meeting.

Record nominations have been received and organisers say there could also be a record crowd for the event dubbed "the Melbourne Cup of the outback".

Race club president David Brook says thousands of visitors from across Australia have flocked to the town, that usually boasts a population of 100.

He says while they come for the bush race experience, it is also becoming a drawcard for trainers.

"It'll be pretty hot competition," he said.

"We've got entries from Adelaide, New South Wales and all over Queensland."

Mr Brook says they usually attract more than 6,000 people and this year is looking bigger.

"There seems to be a record every year here, this year the crowd has come much earlier

"There are a lot more vehicles with caravans, the area between Birdsville and the Diamantina River is loaded with caravans and campers, so we are looking certainly for a big year.

"I am not sure how we will handle 8,000 if they come, but we will do our best."

Birdsville Hotel spokeswoman Lisa Pearson says sales are already up.

"It's very good thirsty weather - we're actually up about 40 per cent on last year and last year was a big year," she said

"They go pretty hard, it is a big party."

Meanwhile, the only bakery in Birdsville says it is expecting to sell more than 10,000 meat pies to hungry race-goers.

Bakery owner Dusty Miller says pies made from kangaroo and camel meat are on the menu but there is much more interest in the standard beef pie.

"For the week during the race period we'll turn over in excess in 12,000 I think," she said.

"Not a lot of people are adventurous - we offer the 'feral trifecta' which is the kangaroo, rabbit and the camel.

"We have been predicting a record crowd and I think it is going to be that - our sales figures certainly indicate that."

Races start this afternoon.

 

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