COONABARABRAN'S Samantha Cormie and Maitland's Haley Johns have made history as the first winners of the Zone 5 Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Women final.
Formally known as The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl competition, Samantha, 24, and Haley, 22, were the first Zone winners under the competition's new banner, as well as the first to book their ticket to this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The duo were among 10 competitors which gathered in Gulgong on Saturday to battle it out for the coveted title.
Coonabarabran Young Woman Samantha Cormie is a registered nurse, who has ambitions of furthering her career and to support rural people by eventually working in remote areas interstate and internationally.
A long-time competitive horse rider, Samantha has competed at state and national-level for many years, using her experience to guide the next generation of riders through the Coonabarabran Pony Club, and enjoys supporting her show society's art competition.
Since 2015, Samantha has also been a volunteer with Banardos, an organisation which is aims to help young people and families to break the cycle of disadvantage to create safe and stable homes.
She told the crowd at the Gulgong Memorial Hall it was an honour to be among such a fine group of young women.
"This is such an honour and I feel very privileged to be competition alongside this group of amazing young women," she said.
"I want to say a big thank you for everyone who competed and everyone involved with the Gulgong Show Society for putting on such a terrific event."
Maitland Young Woman Hayley Johns is currently studying a Bachelor of Podiatry at the University of Newcastle and hopes to pursue a career in the allied healthcare field, particularly in rural and remote communities after graduating.
An Agricultural Societies Council Next Generation member, Hayley also serves as a committee member of the Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Society, as well as the delegate for the 2021 Duke of Edinburgh Awards' Australia, Asia-Pacific economic co-operative summit.
The 2021 Hunter region volunteer of the year and current Maitland City Council youth ambassador said she entered the competition to be "give back to a community that has provided me with an abundance of opportunities and experiences".
Helping the competitors during the on-stage portion of the evening was The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl 2020 Jessica Neale, who encouraged all of the finalists to continue their involvement with their local show societies.
"There are so many opportunities out there, it doesn't end here," she said.
"Stay involved with your local show because it offers you so much."
Agricultural Societies Council of NSW president Tim Capp praised the finalists for their efforts as well as the Gulgong Show Society for hosting the final.
"COVID-19 has caused so many shows across the state to not run for one, or in some cases, the past two years," he said.
"I think you only have to take Gulgong as an example of what a show society can achieve in a COVID world."
The other Zone 5 Young Women were: Emily King, Binnaway; Emily Bennett, Rydal; Tayla Eyles, Mendooran; Kamryn Kermode, Singleton; Hollie Smith, Gulgong; Ally-Mae Morrison, Upper Hunter; and, Caitlin Stuart, Newcastle.
The judges of the competition were ASC of NSW director Jody Nelson-Gleeson, 2018 Rural Achiever Tim Green and The Land reporter Billy Jupp.
The 2022 Zone 5 final was hosted by the Gulgong Show Society at the Gulgong RSL and Gulgong Memorial Hall.
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