When Georgie Haire was named the 2019 Wee Waa Senior Showgirl she could never have predicted that a pandemic would mean she’d hold the title for two years, but Georgie’s been a fabulous advocate for the region and has truly treasured the experience.
“It’s something that’s really special and quite empowering,” said Georgie about the Showgirl competition.
“I definitely grew a lot as person over those two years and I was presented with a lot of opportunities which will continue to help me throughout my life.”
Georgie was a university student when she was sashed as the Wee Waa Showgirl in 2019 but has since graduated and now works as a physiotherapist in Moree.
A lover of farm life, Georgie travels home to her family’s property ‘Coolabah’ most weekends to visit her parents Jan and Marty Haire.
In fact, Georgie is just as impressive in the paddock as she is at formal Showgirl functions and can often be found driving a road train or assisting with planting and carting cotton.
Supporting and participating in community events is something Georgie has done for most of her life and this commitment continued when she became Wee Waa Showgirl with roles on committees such as the 2019 Wee Wee Cotton Cocktail night, which raised money for the Wee Waa District Pre-School.
Georgie is thrilled that the Wee Waa Show will go ahead on August 27-29 and is volunteering as the Show Society’s social media coordinator.
She is urging aspiring young women who are passionate about rural life to chase the Showgirl dream and enter this year’s competition.
“Anyone aged between 18 and 24, I highly recommend putting your hand up,” said Georgie.
“There’s so much to gain, and it’s so much more than just getting a sash: it’s a great way to not only become more involved in your own show society but also in your community.
“It’s a really great program and I just can’t speak highly enough about it, the skills you learn will stay with you for life.”
Georgie said programs offered as part of the Showgirl competition, including a deportment workshop, have helped to boost her confidence levels and had a positive impact on her studies and career as a health professional and advocate.
“It was fantastic to learn interviewing skills, public speaking skills and also being able to connect with not only different members of my own community but also connecting with girls from all over the state who are passionate about their communities.
“Being able to build those connections, being able to meet Adam Marshall (NSW Minister for Agriculture) and have a chat about some of my concerns around healthcare.
“It’s been great and the mentors who I’ve met, I feel going forward in life that I will always be able to reach out to them.
“It has just been so beneficial; the Showgirl program helped me in my studies in the fact that it made it a lot easier to talk to patients and gave me the confidence to back myself.”.
In February 2020, Georgie wowed the judges at the Showgirl zone four finals in Dorrigo and was selected to compete for the NSW Showgirl title at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in April 2020.
However, the Royal Easter Show, along with pretty much every other event on our social calendars, was cancelled last year due to COVID-19.
Thankfully, in 2021, events are back on the agenda and Georgie was finally able to travel to Sydney in April to represent the Cotton Capital.
“It was so much fun, it’s the first time I’ve ever been to the Royal Easter and it was amazing,” said Georgie.
“There were so many different attractions and a lot of education happening as well.
“They went to great lengths to keep up with COVID standards too.”
Georgie, and her fellow 14 finalists, embraced the week of networking and fun at the Royal Easter Show and attended a variety of engagements in Sydney, in their roles as rural ambassadors for towns across NSW.
“Our first day was very formal and very jam-packed,” said Georgie.
“We had afternoon tea at Government House with Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley (AC QC Governor of NSW) and Mr Dennis Wilson hosted a beautiful afternoon tea.
“We went from there to NSW Parliament House and met with Adam Marshall (Agriculture Minister) and Sarah Mitchell Education Minister) which was great.
“And that night we had a formal dinner.
“Throughout the week, we took part in a professional development and mentoring program.
We also got to have a look around the Show.”
Georgie said one of the highlights was competing in the Young Farmer Challenge.
“The Showgirls beat the Rural Achievers, so that was pretty cool,” she said.
“We were pretty determined that we would take it out – it was lots of fun.”
Georgie said she was delighted for Cootamundra’s Jessica Neale who was named the 2021 The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl with Stephanie Ferguson of Bathurst named the first runner up and Kate Webster of Wagga Wagga the 2nd runner up.
“All the girls down there were so supportive of one another,” she said.
“Everyone was there for the experience not just for the sash.
“So coming away from the week, I formed great friendships and I think it’s also good that we’re all from such diverse industries from agronomy to podiatrists, teachers, social workers, a vet.
“If ever I have any queries in those industries I can just reach out to people.”
Georgie said she values the friendships and connections that she’s made throughout the competition and she hopes to continue to advocate for people living in regional NSW.
“It is really rewarding, and it’s also a really nice feeling going out and boasting about your home town because I think Wee Waa is pretty great,” she said.
“Not only are you giving back to your community and being a proud ambassador for your community, but the program has also given me the confidence to be able to walk up to anyone in the room and start a discussion with them, I think that’s a really important thing.
“Just having the courage to say ‘yes’ to anything that you want to and give anything a go.
“I think it’s a really important opportunity, especially for females living outside the city where we don’t always have opportunities presented to us.”
Georgie said she looked forward to meeting the 2021 Wee Waa Showgirl entrants and was very excited about the variety of events at this year’s show including the ‘dog high jump’.
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Wee Waa Showgirl Georgie Haire with her father Marty Haire.