Following show tradition

HOURS spent standing around in the dairy asking her dad questions will be put to good use when Gerringong's Kathryn Cullen contests this summer's Kiama Showgirl Competition in January.

In entering the competition, the 20-year-old University of Wollongong student hopes to fulfil a dream she has had since she was a young girl.

"I have always been to the show and seen the showgirls but have been too young to enter," Kathryn said.

"I think it's important to carry on the tradition of showgirls.

"It is also a great opportunity to be an ambassador for the area and I want to encourage young people to get involved in the show."

Kathryn went to Gerringong Primary School and Kiama High School and is now studying creative arts and indigenous studies.

She said her love of farm life began when she started tagging along with her older brother to cattle shows.

Later she would show cows for her father and friends.

In 2008 Kathryn won the zone level dairy cattle judging competition. She went on to finish third in the state at the Sydney Royal Show and in so doing, became the youngest female to compete in Sydney.

In 2009 success in Sydney saw Kathryn go on to represent NSW at the national titles at Hobart Royal Show, where she won the National Parading Championship.

In 2009 and 2010 Kathryn was a member of the winning Dairy Youth Challenge teams.

Kathryn said, as in her previous show experiences, she would draw on a lifetime spent around her dairy farmer parents, Peter and Wendy, for her showgirl endeavours.

"I have always been around the cows and I think I learned by standing around in the dairy, asking dad questions all the time," she said.

This year marked 50 years of the Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition and the Kiama Showgirl Competition.

For the first time in the history of the Kiama Show and in conjunction with the RAS Easter Showgirl Competition a "Miss Kiama Showgirl Quest", as it was then known, was conducted at the 1963 Kiama Show.

The purpose then, as it is now, was to maintain traditional bonds between the RAS and the country shows.

The first quest culminated in the final, which was held at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The first prize that year was a world trip by Qantas V Jet for the winner and her chaperone.

Since then the Kiama Show Society has organised the Kiama Showgirl Competition to find a young woman to represent the area at the Agricultural Societies Council zone final and to possibly represent at The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition.

Showgirl experiences include visiting a farm, participating in skincare and make-up sessions, gaining poise and confidence, being presented at the Kiama Show Ball and assisting in the sashing of prize-winners.

Potential Showgirl entrants are asked to nominate by contacting the Kiama Showgirl co-ordinator Danielle on 0404 494 921.

The Kiama Show Ball will be held on Friday, January 11.

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