What does it take to be a Showgirl? The 14 finalists for the title of The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition are a mix of veterinarian nurses, agronomists, students and health practitioners.
Their interests include campdrafting, sport, photography, music and showing cattle.
But they have one thing in common: a passion for the land and the rural communities they call home.
The winning Showgirl will become an ambassador for rural NSW and will be judged on their rural knowledge, ambition and genuine interest in their local community.
Casino’s Showgirl Kaela McRae, who is the event coordinator for Casino Beef Week, says she entered the Showgirl competition to celebrate her “love and passion for regional communities”. 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 hospitals.
Wauchope Showgirl Nikki Gibbs, who is a senior veterinary nurse at Timbertown Veterinary Hospital in her hometown, has been a dedicated volunteer with the Wauchope Show Society since she was 11. “To me it is more than a competition, it is a passion to love all things community focused and agriculturally based,” Nikki said. Her community involvement includes participating in two major fundraising events, which have raised more than $20,000 for fire and drought relief causes.
Castle Hill Showgirl Lainie Anderson is a business manager of cardiology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She is looking to pursue opportunities through NSW Health system as a leader and innovator in management with the end goal to return home to Milton-Ulladulla area in a senior hospital management position. She wants to bridge the gap between acute patient facilities and community services.
Nowra Showgirl Sammy Spark is a fourth year veterinary science student at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and aspires to be a large animal veterinarian working in a rural or regional community in a mixed practice. She is heavily involved in her community volunteering and works casually as a vet nurse at Bombaderry Vet Hospital. She participated in the Shoalhaven Women's Conference to promote education after high school.
Queanbeyan Showgirl Keeley Pasfield is an exercise physiologist who hopes to use exercise and social connections to improve the mental health of local people. She is a coach and performance manager at Monaro Panthers Football Club and runs strength and balance classes for older adults. She wants to run her own business and ride a steer for eight seconds.
Moree Showgirl Kate Lumber is an agronomist with ICMS Cotton. She has her Bachelor of Rural Science with Honors from University of New England, and has completed various short courses: upskilling and training, sustainable grains and cotton production, chickpea best management practices and precision agriculture. Kate strives to achieve the most productive, economic and sustainable outcomes for her growers.
Quirindi showgirl Pollyanna Easey, 22, is currently studying Physiotherapy at University of Newcastle. When she completes her degree in 2019, she hopes to work in a large metropolitan hospital to glean additional knowledge and experience in a dynamic environment. Her intention is to set up a practice in her home town and provide the necessary services in and around the north west.
Gresford Showgirl winner Jacqueline Myhill, a stock and station agency administrator with Maitland agency, Bowe and Lidbury. She involved herself in Gresford Show so she could meet people after moving to the district where she and her partner run Angus-cross cattle. A keen show committee member she wants to demonstrate the opportunities and rewards of more youth involvement in shows and agriculture generally.
Rydal Showgirl winner Alana Black has joined the Can Too Foundation in a communications role. Can Too provides training and coaching services to help individuals take part in endurance contests such as the 10km Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. When not running, she is studying to upgrade her marketing and communications degree to a masters and developing a personal “Fledgling Farmers” project, which aims to publicise generational transition management issues to farm families.
Eugowra Showgirl Caitlin Herbert is so passionate about oral health she runs a dental education program providing presentations to rural schools on top of her career as a oral health therapist and working on the family farm near Eugowra. Caitlin hopes that by participating in the competition she can help highlight that local young women can get a good education, while still return to your hometown with a successful career, rather than relocate to the city.
Forbes Showgirl Grace Allen is a registered nurse working at Orange Health Service in the emergency department. Grace will undertake postgraduate studies this year to further her experience and specialisation in emergency healthcare. When not at the hospital, she works as an active member of the Country Women’s Association and volunteers with a group of ladies to offer hairdressing services to residents of the Forbes Mater Aged Care.
Wellington Showgirl Geena Purcell is an accountant with Crowe Horwath in Wellington and is also keen to showcase the many career opportunities for rural women in rural Australia. By moving her career back to Wellington she hopes to contribute more to her hometown and make a positive difference to her local community. Geena is an active member of the Wellington Show Society and the Agriculture Societies Council Next Generation.
Finley Showgirl Maicie Close, 20, is currently studying early childhood care and in her spare time enjoys water skiing and netball. Her ambitions include becoming a pre-school/childcare director, as well as teaching in African villages. She is also the Riverina Bluebell Ball president, which last year raised $18,500 in support of mental health awareness.
Henty Showgirl Emily Jones, 18, is a library and youth trainee working in customer service and is also completing her final HSC subject through the School Pathways Program. Her interests are in music, drama, reading, as well as gardening, netball and the Carlton Football Club. She is also on the Greater Hume Shire Youth Advisory Committee.