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A month ago, I had thought I would be arriving home from the Sydney Royal Easter Show after enjoying the experience of participating in the exchange program of seeing how NSW runs their largest agricultural show.

I also thought I would be looking at a very full diary for 2020, but I am now left looking forward to ‘the year that was meant to be’.

I anticipated being sashed the 2019 Queensland Country Life Showgirl would mean my year would be full of back to back outings.

Attending and assisting opening agricultural shows across the state, attending dinners and social events and encouraging other young women to participate in the wonderful program that is Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl Awards were among the list.

However, I am now facing the reality that I might not get to experience this until next year… which I think may be history-making in itself.

Years ago, equine influenza caused a lot of horse events to cancel, leaving huge dents in social and competition calendars for horse enthusiasts.

This current virus has taken it one step further and caused entire events, year long competitions and finals such as annual agricultural shows to be cancelled or best-case scenario, postponed. The Miss Showgirl Awards has not gone unaffected.

I know a lot of people living in rural and remote areas will remain keeping on with their daily routine and continuing to produce in their chosen agricultural sector, however it doesn’t help the fact that all of these events being cancelled or impacted are sometimes the only, or one of few, social events we attend.

These events are where people connect, converse and often compete – not only helping small regional economies but the health and wellbeing of bush people.

Not all about the situation caused by coronavirus is negative though.

We are now seeing innovative and new ways that show societies are taking advantage of the technology we now have access to. The Crows Nest Show, for example, is hosting an online/virtual activity to create a buzz around showtime, to allow people to still participate in events from the safety of their own home.

To sum it up 2020 has not begun at all as anticipated, for anybody. Stay safe and look after one another. In this time of uncertainty, ring your mates and neighbours and we’ll try again next year.

– 2019 Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl, Clare Webb