Show girls unique experience

July 18, 2017

Karen Dethomas (nee Telford), then 18 years old, following her win at Euroa’s centenary show in 1990.

Karen Dethomas (nee Telford), then 18 years old, following her win at Euroa’s centenary show in 1990.

Karen Dethomas (nee Telford), then 18 years old, following her win at Euroa’s centenary show in 1990.

Bigevent. . .The April judging of the Miss Goulburn Valley Show Girl came complete with dinner, a dance and a dried fruit cake competition.

The Euroa Show has been a beloved experience for Karen Dethomas (nee Telford) and her family.

Each year as the show rolled around in the spring, Mrs Dethomas and her family prepared for the day and arrived in the morning, ready to enter the competitions.

Her mother and father have always been heavily involved in the show, bringing along some of their flock to compete in the poultry competitions, while her grandmother often took out the fruit and vegetable competitions.

With such strong ties to the local show, Mrs Dethomas decided in 1990 to enter the Miss Show Girl competition at the centenary show and give herself a new experience.

‘‘I entered really for confidence and self-esteem and to just push myself out of my comfort zone,’’ she said.

‘‘It was a great conversation-starter at job interviews, it’s not something everyone else had done. It was definitely a unique experience.’’

At the time of the show Mrs Dethomas had already relocated to Melbourne to begin her university course in early childcare, but returned to her home town specially for the competition.

Although the event was more than 25 years ago, there was one memory that she has never forgotten.

‘‘It was so hot, it was about 40 degrees and we all had to stand on the back of an open bed truck and I remember my feet just being absolutely on fire,’’ she said.

‘‘Everyone in the crowd had umbrellas and we were melting ... I just remember looking back and had so many familiar faces looking back at us.

‘‘Some of the girls I competed with I’d gone to school with and we all supported each other and helped each other out.’’

Mrs Dethomas remembered the judging well, with each girl judged out of 20 points on grooming and deportment, personality, adaptability, dress sense and general knowledge.

The dress Mrs Dethomas wore on the day was ‘‘special’’, having been given to her by her neighbour — the sewing teacher at the local high school — as a personal thankyou for her many hours of babysitting.

She said she was glad she was able to wear the dress on the day and ultimately win in it, following which she travelled to Shepparton to compete with the other local winners for the regional title.

Despite not winning the regional stage — Miss Goulburn Valley — Mrs Dethomas still found herself travelling to Melbourne to watch the state competition.

‘‘That was a really nice experience to see girls from all over Victoria compete,’’ she said.

‘‘It was great to see they were just general country girls that stepped out of their country zone.’’

Now 45, Mrs Dethomas calls Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs home and lives in Mooroolbark, teaching three-year-old and four-year-old preschoolers for the local council.

Despite being far from home, Mrs Dethomas ensures she brings the magic of country shows to her young pupils each year as the Royal Melbourne Show rolls around, donning the sash and encouraging each and every one to attend the shows and experience some of the sights it has to offer.

■The RASV is looking for former Miss Show Girls to celebrate the competition’s 60th anniversary. Contact Annette Shiell by email at or by phone on 9281 7427.

■To share your showgirl story with Country News, phone Alana Christensen on 5820 3237 or email

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