When Liberty Nelson entered the 2017 Nowra Showgirl competition, she never dreamt she would win, let alone be named the zone 2 representative for the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
For a week during the show period, Miss Nelson headed to Homebush to take on her official duties as a The Land Showgirl state finalist alongside entrants from across NSW. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.
Was your experience at the Sydney Royal Easter Show what you expected?
Nelson: I honestly had no idea what to expect from the whole experience! I was delighted to be able to represent Nowra at the Zone competition and to make it to Sydney was beyond anything I had imagined when I entered.
The week in Sydney with the other 2017 The Land Royal Showgirl competitors was incredible - we visited Westmead Children's Hospital, helped in the cattle and sheep pavilions, got to speak to the audience in the grandstand, ride in the Grand Parade with the Rural Achiever competitors and meet so many amazing and inspiring people.
Was there a standout moment for you?
Nelson: The whole week was an incredible time, and I think all of the girls have left with so many new friends.
A few moments were really special to me - visiting the Children's hospital, and being able to brighten those children, and their families, day was an astonishing experience.
We also visited Government House and met with David Hurley and his wife, Linda, who were so welcoming and wonderful to speak with. The house has some amazing historical aspects and it was a great opportunity to meet such a wide range of people involved with the Royal, in one place.
What did you take away from the experience?
Nelson: There's so much I've learnt from having been able to attend the Royal show.
The diversity of agriculture in Australia is astonishing and the Royal Agricultural Society and the Australian Show Council do an incredible job in leading the display of the industry across NSW throughout the year.
Both organisations, and all of the Shows across NSW have such an important role in displaying the developments in agriculture, and encouraging new innovations and ideas throughout NSW.
What did you learn from the other showgirl entrants?
Nelson: It was amazing to learn from the other showgirl entrants about their experiences in their own towns, their education, their interests and ambitions in life.
All of the girls were so passionate about the things that interested them, and the driving forces in their own home towns.
I think each and every one of us has left with friendships that will last a lifetime, and a network of incredibly inspiring people in the industry, who can help us achieve so much in our local areas.
How did it differ from past visits to Sydney Show?
Nelson: I haven't actually been to the Royal Show since it was held at Moore park, so it's been a very different experience for me.
The RAS and ASC work together so well to bring the numerous and diverse aspects of agriculture and rural Australia to one place, and the result is amazing.
I would love one day to be able to compete in the main arena with my horses at the royal and perhaps be able to show some of my embroidery in the craft pavilions.
Visiting the royal has really boosted my enthusiasm for the agricultural show scene and I can’t wait to get back into it.
Tell us about your passion for the increasingly popular sport of Horse Archery?
Nelson: March saw the establishment of the Shoalhaven Branch of the Australian Horse Archery Association, which is one of the largest growing sports across the world.
I’m hoping that I will be able to help this group grow throughout the local horse riding community in the coming months and years. It’s an amazing sport because of its adaptability, and wide range of suitability – I’ve met competitors just starting out with horses, and experienced riders, kids to adults, and they all get such an amazing experience out of the sport.
What do you hope to achieve this year as reigning showgirl?
Nelson: Attending the royal has given me such insight into different aspects of the shows that are run every year across NSW.
I've been inspired by the young men and women I've met during this competition and I'm hoping that I can bring this passion to other young people in the region.
The local shows have so much to offer to everyone, from all different walks of life, and I truly think there is something for everyone to be found at the shows. I’ve come up with a few ideas that I’m hoping may be able to be brought to the Nowra Show, so we’ll just have to see what the year ahead brings.