Tenterfield's Miss Showgirl 2018 Keely Mooney had a whirlwind nine-day visit to Sydney representing Zone 4 at the Royal Easter Show, and she has returned with new ideas for reinvigorating the Miss Showgirl component of next year's Tenterfield Show.
Her busy schedule included rubbing elbows with Governor Margaret Beazley, photo sessions, visits to Westmead Children's Hospital to hand out showbags, multiple formal dinners, a professional development day and a mentoring program and, of course, big days at the Easter Show itself.
She and her fellow Miss Showgirl representatives were part of the show's official opening, transported around the main ring by carriage as part of the grand parade. She also officially toured the district exhibits, naturally drawn to the winning entry where she was on familiar turf with the Northern Region taking out a swag of prizes.
After local and zone judging this was her third time facing the interviewing panel, but she didn't find the process daunting.
"I didn't view it as a competition," she said.
"I was just very proud to be there."
The questions were broader, being at a state level, and included topics like the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Despite all the formalities, Keely said the highlight of the whole experience was the AgriYouth Connect session where young show society committee members like herself got to swap ideas for improving their shows.
"It was all about brainstorming and sharing your voice, and bouncing around ideas.
"There was a lot of positive stuff."
So while she may not have returned with the crown (that honour went to Stephanie Clancy from Walbundrie Show Society) she has returned with ideas to transition the good turnout of entrants in the Junior Miss Showgirl competition into the senior competition, where numbers have been struggling the past few years.
She said she hopes to work with current Miss Showgirl Steph Kennedy and Miss Showgirl coordinator Ellie Griffiths on defining a more major role for the Junior Miss Showgirl awardee, to bridge the gap. Tenterfield's far from being the only show society experiencing a low turnout to their showgirl competition, and Keely said some had seen positive results from employing this tactic.
Keely also wants to be there to support Steph on her journey, including facing zone judging early next year and then, perhaps, following in Keely's footsteps to the Royal Easter.
The fantastic time Keely experienced during the initial runup and at the 2018 Tenterfield Show, then during her 12 month reign and since as a zone representative, should be great incentive for any local young woman to put down her name when the call goes out later this year to begin their own journey, regardless of how far they go.