A lifelong involvement in the Boort Show has stemmed from 1974 when then 19-year-old Vikki Lanyon (nee Kane) entered the Miss Showgirl competition alongside a number of friends and locals.
It was a win at this show that started a unique experience for the teaching college student, involving a win at the regional competitions and ultimately a trip to Melbourne to compete at the Royal Melbourne Show.
Each win came as a surprise to the young woman, who had spent the lead-up to the Melbourne competition brushing up on recent events in preparation for the judging panel.
‘‘When I went to the regional and Melbourne judging you had to make sure your general knowledge was up-to-date with who was the Governor-General and other kinds of things,’’ she said.
‘‘So it was a bit of a quiz!’’
Despite being labelled with an unfortunate number throughout the competition, Mrs Lanyon enjoyed plenty of luck.
‘‘When I went to Melbourne there were 13 of us from all across the state and I was number 13, so every time we went somewhere I was number 13,’’ she said with a laugh.
‘‘But I actually got to the final and won.’’
Following her win, Mrs Lanyon and her mother stayed on at the show, with the newly announced Miss Sun Showgirl on hand at the show to present sashes and awards to a number of different competitors.
‘‘I think I walked every inch of those showgrounds throughout the show,’’ she said.
‘‘As a result of the win I was invited to different shows as a showgirl judge because they wanted the current showgirl to come along and be on the panel.
‘‘The other thing that was really special was the following year I was invited back to the show and Margaret Thatcher was the guest who presented the sash to the winning showgirl, so I’ll always remember that.’’
On her return home to Boort, Mrs Lanyon was met with fanfare and lots of support from the local community, and was even driven around town in a buggy decorated by a local woman to celebrate her win.
After graduating from teachers’ college in Bendigo, Mrs Lanyon returned to Boort and admits she hasn’t strayed far since.
Having married a local farmer and raised two children, Mrs Lanyon has remained involved in the show, acting as head steward for the children’s section and ensuring other members of the community have the same positive memories at the Boort show that she herself has enjoyed.
■The RASV is looking for former Miss Showgirls to celebrate the competition’s 60th anniversary. Contact Annette Shiell by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 9281 7427.
■To share your showgirl story with Country News, phone Alana Christensen on 5820 3237 or email email@example.com