IT’S as much a part of the showscape as dagwood dogs and toothless carnies.
For 151 years, Wagga’s Miss Showgirl has borne witness to extraordinary change – the federation of Australia, the Great War, the birth of the motorcar, the technological age.
Through it all, it’s remained a constant.
Its core values are as relevant today as they’ve ever been and the event is an ideal vehicle for personal growth.
Contestants are judged on personality, confidence, ambition and life goals, general knowledge, rural knowledge, presentation and speech.
But sadly, many fear Miss Showgirl is set to go the way of the midget freak show and the bearded lady.
Organisers across the Riverina are finding it increasingly hard to rustle up contestants.
In Griffith, where the show itself has now gone into recess, only one contestant entered in 2009, making it more a procession than a contest.
Put bluntly, Miss Showgirl has an image crisis.
Young women know what’s cool, they can’t help but know.
Ravenous corporations and shrewd advertising firms make sure of it.
Until Miss Showgirl gets a slick advertising campaign and maybe a ringtone and bonus DVD to back it up, organisers will be battling to keep it alive.
It’s an unfortunate by-product of the consumer age and one local volunteer groups have been fearing for years.
Our obsession with ourselves is coming at the cost of the community.
To those that think Showgirl is an outdated concept and should be consigned to history’s dustbin, think again.
Showgirls don’t just get a bunch of prizes and plenty of admirers, but they’re an ambassador for our city.
They embody the qualities and values we collectively stand for as a community.
If we can’t hold onto such a symbolically important tradition, what does it say about us?
On a brighter note, organisers of this year’s Wagga Show deserve a titanic pat on the back.
The annual show was again a wonderful spectacle and an ornament to the city.
On behalf of everyone who enjoyed the show, thank you.
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