EYES ON THE PRIZE: Josie Laird, Sammie Sutton and Klarhys Campbell are getting ready to compete for the Miss Showgirl crown at next week's Show Ball.
EYES ON THE PRIZE: Josie Laird, Sammie Sutton and Klarhys Campbell are getting ready to compete for the Miss Showgirl crown at next week's Show Ball. Renee Albrecht

Trio eyes Gympie's Miss Showgirl title, ready to have a ball

GLITZ and glamour will once again descend on Gympie, with the Show Ball now only a week away.

Themed Stars on the Horizon, this year's gala will be awash in live entertainment from Linc Phelps and the Long Kiss Goodnight, with a guest performance by artistic acrobats Aerial Dreaming.

The celebrations start the countdown to the 2018 Gympie Show which runs from May 17-19, and organisers hope to to have similar success to last year where more than 240 guests danced the night away.

The ball will also feature the crowning of the 2018 Gympie Showgirl, Charity Showgirl and Show Princess, with three local women vying for this year's honours.

And you can meet them all below.

Sammie Sutton

SAMMIE grew up in the Mary Valley.

She said she had the privilege as a child to grow up and live on a farm her entire life, and recently bought an acreage with her partner.

A "massive" sport fan and passionate about exercise, she is a certified personal trainer and has played sport for as long as she can remember.

Miss Sutton has played in many teams with great success.

She currently plays touch locally and has her own personal training business as well as working full-time.


Gympie Showgirl Sammie Sutton.
Gympie Showgirl Sammie Sutton. Renee Albrecht

She said she loves being a part of the 2018 Miss Showgirl team, and the experience has been "unforgettable".

She has a strong and proud interest in promoting what the Gympie region has to showcase.

"The Miss Showgirl competition has really made me embrace the wonderful region that we live in," she said.

"I have gained so much confidence and local knowledge that I will be forever grateful for.

"The competition embodies my desire to encourage the involvement of the younger generation to step up and take part in our show societies by attending, volunteering and supporting.

"It also develops and promotes leadership and networking skills that are used in everyday life."

Josie Laird

HAVING grown up in Gympie, Miss Laird moved to Moranbah for her final two years of primary school before returning to Gympie to complete her secondary education at St Patrick's College.

After finishing school, she secured a gap year position at the region's daily newspaper, The Gympie Times.

She remained there for three years before moving on to study photography on the Sunshine Coast.

Miss Laird is pursuing a career as a rural photojournalist and event photographer, and has had work recently published in Queensland Country Life.

She said she enjoys the business logistics of show societies, and in her spare time does voluntary work for shows across the state as a part of their Next Generation teams.

Miss Laird became involved with the Gympie District Show Society in 2015 and has been on the management team, helped former showgirls and rural ambassadors and helped introduce the Young Farmers Challenge to the show program.

Her fondest Gympie Show memory is falling over her own feet during a Young Farmers Challenge demo, streamed live around Australia on Sunrise.


Gympie Showgirl Josie Laird.
Gympie Showgirl Josie Laird. Renee Albrecht

This year, she finally decided to run for the Showgirl title.

"I think the Showgirl competition is still relevant across the state," she said.

"It provides an opportunity for women to be involved in the agricultural industry, regardless of their employment, and become involved in the local community.

"As an applicant my public speaking, confidence and overall demeanour has improved.

"I have been exposed to many aspects of agriculture through my involvement with shows.

"I waited a few years to run for Showgirl because I wanted to have a solid insight into the agricultural show movement first.

"Now that I have been involved with other show societies and Next Gen (which is a subcommittee of the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies), I think I have something to offer.

Her involvement with ag shows was driven by the community spirit she saw and, of course, a love of food.

She said this was striking because, growing up, she could not remember ever having had a strong connection to agriculture, nor studying it as part of her school's curriculum.

"Most of what I have learnt has been through shows and the friendships I have gained while being involved.

"Everyone should know where their food and fibres come from and ag shows are a great platform to launch those conversations.

"Ag is at the heart of all shows but there has been a particular focus on agriculture education at The Gympie Show over the last few years.

"I think with the urbanisation of the area and strong employment in industrial industries, it is increasingly important that we remember how our food is grown and who is behind it," she said.

Klahrys Campbell

BORN and raised in Gympie, Miss Campbell attended Victory College for most of her schooling and finished high school at Saint Patrick's College, where she met her partner - whom she will marry in August.

Currently in her second year of university and studying a Bachelor of Education, she is also the acting manager at The Decks on Mary.

"I feel I have grown as a person from my showgirl experience and I have experienced so much, however my committee has truly made this journey enjoyable for me. They have supported me all the way," she said.


Gympie Showgirl Sammie Sutton Klarhys Campbell. .
Gympie Showgirl Sammie Sutton Klarhys Campbell. . Renee Albrecht

"In my studies I have learnt that it takes a village to raise a child, however it really does take a committee to raise a showgirl.

"I did not realise the traditions that were still deeply sewn into Gympie and the show society.

"Gympie itself has a rich history and it is so vital that in our modern times we keep Gympie as the historical town it is - The Town that Saved Queensland."


* When: Saturday, April 28, 6.30pm-midnight.

* Where: Gympie Civic Centre.

* Cost: $65 (include a three-course meal) available at sunshinecoasttickets.com.au, or purchased through Gympie Bride and Formal.

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