Tamworth ladies vie for Queenly role

CALLING all Tamworth ladies with a love of festivals and fun: two royal titles are up for grabs.

Nominations for the 2013 Tamworth Queen of Country Music Quest are open and there are one or two early birds with their eyes on the prize.

Born-and-raised Tamworth girl Paige Murray was the first to enter the popular competition, which is run by the Tamworth Business Chamber, and said she was looking forward to representing her business and Tamworth.

The 21-year-old sales representative for 92.9FM said she had been to nearly every festival since she was a little girl, to watch her musician father, Leon Murray, play gigs, and loved every part of the festival atmosphere.

Paige said two of her friends had been entrants in the queen quest and seeing how much fun they had was an inspiration for her to enter.

Grooming, dress and deportment are just a few of the aspects entrants will be judged on, but Paige said the modern-day beauty pageant aspect of the competition did not bother her.

"I think the quest is a lot more relaxed than in years gone by," she said. A self-confessed "jeans girl", Paige said she was bringing her outgoing and bubbly personality to the table.

"It's not about your looks or your line-dancing anymore. These days I think it's more about your personality and what you can bring to the competition," she said.

First-time queen quest co- ordinator Alyson King will be easy on her 30 charges. She was an entrant in last year's competition.

Describing her time as an entrant as "the best thing I've ever done", Alyson said the quest was a special part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival each year.

"I made so many friends and met so many people. I even got to hug Adam Harvey," Alyson said.

"The opening ceremony and cavalcade were my favourite parts."

The competition is open to young women between the ages of 18 to 35, who are free to attend functions and special events during and after the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Hinting that the judges are looking for a confident young woman with a good knowledge of the Tamworth region, Alyson said ambition, personality and a sense of style were what the judges were after when they selected their queen.

"She has to be a good ambassador for Tamworth and the festival," Alyson said.

Reigning 2012 queen Dimity Chaseling and princess Shae McIntosh will be passing on their crowns and sashes to the next crop of bright young things after a year promoting Tamworth and the festival.

Although Paige said she would love to win Dimity's crown, she was more than happy to settle for meeting her country music idols, Gina Jeffries and Beccy Cole, and taking part in the many promotional activities the girls are required to attend.

But Paige said she might have to make a phone call first, before she slipped into potential queen mode.

"I haven't told mum yet. She's going to get a bit of a shock," she joked.

Nominations can be made online at www.tamworth.org.au/entrants and are open until mid-December.

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