In a sparkling night hosted by Cobargo AP&H Society, Crookwell's Lauren Selmes was judged the Zone 3 The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl zone winner for 2019.
Hosted by Group 6 President June Tarlinton the nine Zone 3 finalists gathered at the Cobargo Showground on Saturday night.
On hand to watch the final was Royal Agricultural Societies President Robert Ryan, with Agricultural Societies Council president David Peters, Hartley, announcing the winner, sashed by the 2017 Sydney Royal Showgirl Maisie Morrow, Scone.
The Cobargo showground pavilion was decorated in fairy lights and white draped seats in a style befitting the best any room could look for such an event. There was even a very tight red dress worn by a Cobargo Showgirl in 1962 for persual. The dress was then worn by the first Cobargo Showgirl Sheena Jessop, who went on to compete in the zone final in Dubbo, the first year of the Showgirl competition.
The nine excellent finalists, all with great personalities and bright futures gathered from around the Southern Tablelands and South Coast for the event, with interviews kindly hosted at the home of Jim and Madge Salway at Bermagui.
Lauren Selmes hails from a small town of just 2000 north of Goulburn that has produced a line of top Australian sportspeople over the decades including several Hockeyroos players and a Hockeyroos captain, Emily Smith. Lauren loves hockey herself and has coached a junior hockey team.
She is a dedicated student at Charles Sturt University in Albury and wants to pursue a career in speech pathology and to work in regional and remote areas to help people with speech problems. The confident speaker also has some strong ideas on how to enhance the experience at country shows, as did many of the competitors in the zone final. Lauren's parents Michelle and Anthony Selmes, Franita, run a Merino and mixed breed sheep operation near Crookwell.
All young women were confident in their careers and some were making great strides forward in what were often male dominated professions such as mechanics and driving trucks. There were also a number of girls interested in graphic design and social media, and one was a young trackwork rider with the dream of riding in a Melbourne Cup. All of them wanted to be guiding lights for young women entering a career.
They were encouraged to pursue their dreams by former Sydney Royal Showgirl Maisie Morrow now working as an agronomist in the Hunter Valley with great success.
Host for the night was Stephanie Tarlinton, a former Cobargo showgirl and a Sydney Royal Showgirl second runner-up, who is now a leading stylist in Melbourne, after growing up on a dairy farm at Cobargo and showing dairy cows for much of her early life. She talked to the finalists about the importance of provenance, and that they all represented something "unique" in themselves from the towns they came from of which they should be proud. "I've always felt a sense of support from my community," she said. The competition was a celebration of "place, people, our land".