One is a former hairdresser turned Casino Beef Week coordinator, the other is a veterinarian nurse at Wauchope.
But they have one thing in common: a passion for the land and the rural communities they call home.
Kaela McRae, Casino’s Showgirl winner and Nikki Gibbs from Wauchope are heading to Sydney Royal Easter Show after they won the coveted The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition Zone 1 final at Wauchope RSL Club on Saturday.
Kaela, who has been working as the event coordinator for Casino Beef Week for the past year, said she entered the Showgirl competition to celebrate her “love and passion for regional communities”.
“I want to give back to my community that has given me so much and I want to network and build on my rural and agricultural knowledge,” she said.
After losing her mother Jodie in 2016 due to breast cancer, Kaela, 21, is continuing the charity they started together – Jodie’s Inspiration.
The charity has already raised more than $170,000 for cold cap therapy machines that have been installed in Lismore Base Hospital and St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Lismore.
Her goal is to become a life coach and motivational speaker.
Meanwhile Nikki, who is a senior veterinary nurse at Timbertown Veterinary Hospital in Wauchope, has been a dedicated volunteer with the Wauchope Show Society since she was 11.
“I competed in the showgirl competition in 2016 and came runner-up. This gave me the fire I needed to compete in 2017 and I’m full of gratitude for what the competition has given to me,” Nikki said.
“To me it is more than a competition, it is a passion to love all things community focused and agriculturally based.”
Her community involvement also includes participating in two major fundraising events, which have raised more than $20,000 for fire and drought relief causes.
The Zone 1 final was hosted by Wauchope Show Society, which celebrates 52 years of involvement in the competition, with the first ever showgirl won my Margaret Bain in 1966.
The other Zone 1 finalists were Merinda Kyle (Kempsey), Neve Kelly (Bangalow), Samantha Hamilton (Taree), Ashley Johnston (Murwillumbah), Zara Beckett (Coffs Harbour), Amber Cordell-Mollet (Mullumbimby), Janaya Everingham (Lismore), Liesl Pederson (Kyogle), Nicole Cowling (Maclean), Makayla Richardson (Grafton) and Melony Chapman (Alstonville).