LONG MAY THEY REIGN: Show & Rodeo royalty get second chance
Warwick Rodeo and Show royalty are saddling up for a historically long reign.
For the first time in over 100 years, a global pandemic prompted a change of tradition within the Warwick Show & Rodeo Society.
Robbed of a chance to represent their communities, 2019 Rodeo Queen Mikyla Hogno and 2019 Warwick Showgirl Jess Carey are expected to be offered an additional year of service.
"We just wanted to give them a fair opportunity," said events and marketing co-ordinator Teilah McKelvey.
"They're positive girls and amazing role models, but they haven't been able to fulfil their duties due to COVID.
"It might break with a bit of tradition, but it's the sensible choice."
Rodeo Queen Quest committee administrator Melissa Le Lay hopes by giving the women a second chance to shine, they will empower their communities to recover from a triple whammy of drought, fires and pandemic.
"It's disappointing they haven't had the opportunity to showcase their community," she said.
"This is what they do, this is their passion, and to see everything get cancelled has been tough.
"But everybody is in the same boat, so we have to go with what we've got."
Show Queen Ms Carey said rising to new challenges was just the "country way."
"In these times, in these conditions, we have to do what farmers have to do in drought," she said.
"We have to be adaptable and resilient."
For Ms Carey, this means turning to social media as a means of connection, and planning for a future when lockdown is lifted and she can hit the ground running.
"Everyone has a role to play," she said.
"I want to connect the rural roots of our agricultural industry to what's happening in town with local businesses.
"We can work together as a community to come back from the damage of drought and COVID."
Mrs McKelvey said it was "beautiful" to see the two queens coming together for the good of the Warwick community.
"All we can do now is keep our fingers crossed that the curve continues to be flattened," she said.