There's no trip to Sydney for local Showgirl hopefuls Georgia Webb or Chantelle Gorman, but both women say they have gained a lot from being involved in the process.
Representing Finley and Berrigan respectively, Miss Webb and Miss Gorman were among 19 district showgirls who competed in the Zone 7 Final of The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition on Saturday night.
The event was hosted in Finley by the Finley Show Society, and attracted more than 200 people from across the Riverina and South Western region.
Going on to represent the zone at the Sydney Royal Easter Show at the state finals in April will be Cootamundra’s Jessica Neale, Wagg Wagga’s Kate Webster, and Walbundrie’s Aimee Riley.
Miss Webb said while she would have liked to progress further in the competition, she said she did benefit from the competition in terms of personal growth.
She said she can see a notable difference in the way she handles her responsibilities from 12 months ago, and now wants to inspire other women to participate in the competition.
“Being a showgirl is so different to what I expected when I first entered to become Finley Showgirl last year,” she siad.
“Throughout my journey, I’ve been able to undergo an enormous amount of personal growth, learn more about the area I’ve grown up in and meet some fantastic young women who are making such a difference in rural Australia.
“I would strongly encourage any young women with a heart for rural and regional Australia to enter the competition. You will gain so much from it.”
Miss Gorman said while it was a long day, being part of the zone competition was a worthwhile experience.
“What a day,” she said of the event on Saturday.
“From interviews to lunches and the amazing evening - the whole process was a whirlwind,” she said.
“The whole journey had been such an incredible experience and one I will never forget.
“I would highly encourage every girl to become their local showgirl, you will meet some incredible, inspiration women and friends you will have for life.”
The day itself started at the Finley Country Club, with each entrant sitting an interview with a panel of three judges.
All showgirls and judges had lunch together, and the zone finals culminated in a formal dinner at the Finley RS Club.
At the dinner on Saturday evening, each entrant was interviewed on stage by 2019 The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Stephanie Clancy, from Walbundrie.
Miss Clancy and former Zone 7 state finalist Sarah Cudmore from Griffith also shared their showgirl experience with guests.
Other guest speakers during the evening were Bendigo Bank Coleambally manager Chris Noack, Agricultural Societies of NSW Next Generation delegate Joe Murphy from Wagga, and Agricultural Societies Council of NSW vice president Jill Chapman from Hay.
Other showgirl entrants came from Ariah Park, Cootamundra, Deniliquin, Ganmain, Griffith, Hillston, Holbrook, Junee, Lake Cargelligo, Leeton, Lockhart, Temora, The Rock, Ungarie, Wagga Wagga, Walbundrie, and West Wyalong.
On the judging panel were Agricultural Societies of NSW director Brett Kenworthy, The Land’s Olivia Calver, and 2017 The Land Sydney Showgirl Competition second runner-up Isabel Hawken.
The Finley Show Society has been planning for the event since September, and president Matt Mueller said he was "proud of the subcommittee’s efforts in ensuring the entire day ran seamlessly".
As part of the event, society members organised a local bus tour for visitors to the Southern Riverina.
It included a stop to view the progress of the Finley Solar Farm project, and visits to John and Melanie Jamieson’s rice crop, Kelly Grains’ receivables depot in Tocumwal and Close’s Foundry Museum.