SHOWGOERS: Miss Showgirl Caitlin Handford, runner-up Chelsea Steinhardt, Rural Ambassador Amanda Graham, Junior Rural Ambassador Libby McEuen and runner-up Poppy Rose.
SHOWGOERS: Miss Showgirl Caitlin Handford, runner-up Chelsea Steinhardt, Rural Ambassador Amanda Graham, Junior Rural Ambassador Libby McEuen and runner-up Poppy Rose. Rhiannon Tuffield

PHOTO GALLERY: Wondai celebrates 99th annual show in style

THE future of agricultural shows depends upon an influx of young talent, but attracting individuals to the culture may be easier than previously thought.

Since 1982, Wondai's Miss Showgirl competition has inspired hundreds to immerse themselves in country shows, creating generations of rural-aware youngsters who stand up for their region.

Wondai Show Society secretary Noreen Brier said those who got involved in show culture were shown a deeper side of the shows.

But the key, she said, was getting them interested from a young age.

"We encourage them to come to meetings and working bees and see that other side of it, and hopefully get them interested enough that they will perhaps one day take up stewarding or official positions," Ms Brier said.

"Getting them interested starts with competitions such as your Miss Showgirl and Rural Ambassador."

This year's Wondai Show Rural Ambassador is 23-year-old Amanda Graham, who has grown up with a love of all things rural.

Miss Graham said showing cattle from a young age led her to becoming interested in show culture and taking it further.

"The biggest thing with these competitions is they encourage the younger ones to get involved," Miss Graham said at the Wondai Show on Saturday.

"Ultimately, older people get older and get out of things so you've got to get that young blood in, to become the lifeblood of the shows."

As a Rural Ambassador, this year Miss Graham will represent Wondai at shows across the region as well as help out at events such as the Wondai Christmas Carnival.

Miss Graham said being a part of agricultural shows gave her the chance to make friends, grain confidence and garner a greater understanding of how things were run behind the scenes.

"Through showing cattle, especially, I've got to make a lot of friends and learnt a lot of things," she said.

"It's a good environment for people to grow up in, it keeps them grounded, it keeps them with something they're accountable for.

"It definitely takes a lot of confidence, but it also grows that confidence too."

Miss Graham said a significant part of her role was to pass on her experience to children and hopefully inspire a new generation.

"It's lovely to see people my age teaching the younger ones," she said.

"I've seen in many different shows, the more you get the younger ones involves, the better."