Former Strathmerton resident Elizabeth Porter was no stranger to agricultural shows when she and her girlfriends decided to enter the 1989 Miss Showgirl competition at the Numurkah Show.
Having been competing with her horses for a number of years, Ms Porter had been to a number of shows across Victoria but when she entered the competition for ‘‘a bit of fun’’ she never expected to win the title.
‘‘I just packed a spare lot of clothes to wear and, as they say, the rest is history!’’
The then 19-year-old was working fulltime at Consolidated Herd Improvement Services when, following her win at the Numurkah Show,
she travelled to Shepparton to compete for the regional title of Miss Goulburn Valley.
Up against 10 other winners from the region,Ms Porter again took the experience in her stride as she navigated the interview panel of three judges which was‘‘just like a job interview’’ according to Ms Porter.
Again Ms Porter was left in a state of shock when the winner, and the woman going to compete at the statewide competition at the Royal Melbourne Show, was announced.
‘‘I would have been nervous and I was most taken back to have been awarded Miss Goulburn Valley,’’ she said.
‘‘It was a lovely surprise!’’
Come springtime, Ms Porter had made her way down to Melbourne to compete in the event against the 12 other winners from regions across Victoria.
The competition was a new experience for the young woman, with the judging continuing over a number of days.
‘‘It was a very extensive judging process over three days . . . so you’d have official engagements that the group had collectively that the participants in the Showgirl competition would be required to attend,’’ she said.
‘‘You were always being judged.’’
The show was a memorable experience for Ms Porter, especially when she was announced as the 1990 Miss Sun Country Show Girl.
‘‘I was genuinely shocked and quite taken aback by that,’’ she said.
‘‘It was lovely, it was a hectic two weeks that followed the announcements of the showgirls.’’
Having now relocated to Geelong, Ms Porter is still involved in the agricultural show circuit, often showing her horses and having even worked at the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria for a number of years after her Show Girl experience.
‘‘I remained with that tie to my agricultural roots and certainly that was something I was very happy to give,’’ she said.
‘‘I really tried to give back . . . it was a fantastic time for me in my life so I just wanted to be able to give that back to the community.’’