Cooyar’ Brooke Barron took a break from the cocktail party to chat with her friend Yasmin Hibberd, who is studying nursing at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba

February 24, 2018

When the Cooyar Show Society reimagined their traditional Show Ball as a cocktail party last year, they held it in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave.

This year the weather was several degrees kinder.

But such is the loyalty for the event it probably wouldn’t matter if it snowed or flooded … the night would still draw a crowd.

And this year’s Cocktail Party certainly did.

The party is a traditional curtain-raiser for the Cooyar Show.

Guests get to dress up in their best outfits, then mix and mingle over finger foods with refreshments of their choice – including exotic cocktails and mocktails – in Cooyar’s modern town hall.

Children are also very welcome, and this year about 15 youngsters had fun posing with camera props for other keen young photographers, or dancing excitedly in the hope of being selected as Junior Princess.

As was the case last year, Manumbar Meets Catering kept a steady flow of well-prepared foods flowing all evening, and many visitors came from other South Burnett and Darling Downs towns to lend support to the event.

The highlight of the evening was the announcement of Miss Cooyar Showgirl, Teen Showgirl and Junior Princess.

Judges Narelle Gluer, Carla Tierney and May Gossow put the applicants through their paces and the winners were announced towards the end of the night.

This year’s Miss Showgirl is Cooyar resident Jessica Erlich, who works as a dental assistant but whose true passion is soccer.

For the past seven years Jess has made regular commutes to Nanango to be part of the all-conquering Panthers women’s soccer team, helping them win four of their past five Grand Finals.

Miss Teen Showgirl is Rachel Dando, a grade 9 student at Yarraman P-10, and 2018’s Junior Princess – selected from the floor by the judges – is 10-year-old Rhiannon Ryan.

For the first time in many years, Cooyar will also field a Rural Ambassador to the Darling Downs Sub-Chamber finals.

Kaytlin Ballin, a Maclagan dairy farmer and mother of four, was chosen to take on the role.

Cooyar Show Society president Matt Ryan congratulated all the winners along his wife Jacinta, who has coordinated the Miss Showgirl competition for the past 11 years.

Matt reminded the audience that 2018 will mark the 30th anniversary of Cooyar’s disastrous flood.

Despite the devastation it caused, he said Cooyar had bounced back and the up-coming Cooyar Show at the steadily evolving Rangemore Road showgrounds would prove that.

This year the Show will run over two days, starting with a campdraft on Friday.

On Saturday, the Show will feature the finals of Friday’s drafts along with all the usual events and several completely new ones.

Special things to watch out for include the Outback Thunda Monster Truck, a Ute Muster, a Smash-Up Derby, poddy rides and an exciting bull ride in the evening which will be followed by fireworks and live entertainment until late.

There’ll also be led steer, stud beef and young judges and paraders competitions, pavilion displays, post-ripping and a young farmers challenge.

Children will be delighted by the free face painting, sample bags and sideshows on offer, and Moovin’ Balloonin’ roving entertainment.

“Cooyar is known as a great, family-friendly show and I look forward to seeing you all there,” Matt said.

Postscript: While many parts of the South Burnett received heavy rain over the past few days, Cooyar saw barely 10mm in the rain gauges, so the campdraft went ahead on Friday and the Show will run on Saturday. You can download a printable copy of this year’s show schedule by clicking here

Visitors from afar … 2018 Miss Pittsworth Showgirl entrant Alexandra Stewart and 2017 Miss Oakey Showgirl Sarah Ray came along to support the Cooyar Show Society
Cooyar girls Kaycee Barron, Amelia Davies and Rachel Dando came to the cocktail party to have fun; at the end of the evening, Rachel was named this year’s Miss Teen Showgirl
Keira Ryan, 7, Grace Barron, 6, and Charlotte Erlich, 8 had fun …
… and a little later, Charlotte got a lift from 11-year-old Gabrielle Duncombe
Nate Ryan, 5, Maddison Erlich, 10, and Rhiannon Ryan, 10, amused themselves with camera props
2017’s Miss Teen Showgirl Bree Duncombe and her friend Bridget Dando – both from Cooyar – dressed stylishly for the occasion
2018 Cooyar Showgirl Jessica Erlich, Teen Showgirl Rachel Dando, Rural Ambassador Kaitlyn Ballin and Junior Princess Rhiannon Ryan with (at front) 2017 Junior Princess Gabrielle Duncombe, 2017 Teen Showgirl Bree Duncombe and judges Narelle Gluer, Carla Tierney and May Gossow
The hard-working team from Manumbar Meets Catering – Hannah, Cassie, Julie and Ray – ensured party guests were well-fed all night

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