What began as an exercise to build confidence became a very unexpected achievement for Felicity Sims.
The 23-year-old nursing student was sashed as the 2017 Inverell Showgirl on Saturday afternoon, with accolades from judges, and congratulatory handshake and presentation by Member for New England and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
She said her success was personally unexpected. “I only entered to boost my self-esteem,” Felicity said, and said it was a good experience.
“I didn’t go into it to win. Now, I’ve done something I wouldn’t have done before.”
Felicity admitted she had the jitters going into the judging process and the of meeting many new people, which coalesced into winning the award ahead of equal runners up Tiffany Moir and Ashlee Walker.
When she was sashed by 2016 Showgirl Krystal Cagney, she said her legs went to jelly. “I actually had a tear in my eye,” she said.
“As soon as I got off stage and saw my mum, that’s when it really hit me – I was Inverell Showgirl 2017. It’s not every day you get to shake the hand of the Deputy Prime Minister.”
Her journey to become Inverell’s Showgirl began when the long-time event co-ordinator Jean Muggleton encouraged her to apply.
As soon as I got off stage and saw my mum, that’s when it really hit me.
Felicity felt her main assets were her participation with the local Rural Fire Service unit, and knowledge of both the country and community. She joined the unit in November of 2015 during an RFS recruitment drive to invite more female members.
She felt the opportunity afforded her a chance to make a difference.
“When I faced my first fires, I thought, what have to got myself into?’ But now I know, and I’m saving lives, saving farms and the community,” she said.
Felicity wanted to thank her mother Rachel Sims, grandmother Phyllis Baker, her brother Will, and Jean Muggleton.