WITH a red cape sweeping her shoulders, a sparkling tiara atop her Akubra and a few tears from mum, Tamworth's newest Queen has been crowned.
18-year-old Sophie Dewhurst said she was 'stoked' and 'overwhelmed' to be named the official 2013 Queen of Country Music at the official ceremony at Tamworth Town Hall on Sunday night.
23-year-old Kate Coburn was crowned Princess and 31-year-old Shonnah Smith was named Miss Congeniality during the evening in which the top ten finalists were asked questions on stage with a panel of five judges deciding the winner.
Fresh from photoshoots and after parties yesterday Sophie said she can't wait to start her new role.
"I can't wait to take on a new adventure and get out there in the community," the young Tamworth businesswoman said.
Combining her queen duties with her current roles as 3rd year apprentice hairdresser at Jess and James Hairdressing, Zumba instructor at 360 Fitness and her own mobile spray tanning business, Sophie said it's lucky she loves being busy.
In a twist, Sophie's employer and sponsor for the quest, Jessica Campbell was also proudly watching the crowning on stage as one of the 21 entrants, with an ear-to-ear smile as her friend took the royal title.
"I could see her huge smile from other side of the stage. We did each other's hair for the night," Sophie laughed.
In fact Sophie's long red locks, caught in a sweeping upstyle for the night, had to be quickly tamed offstage with bobby pins by 2012 Queen Dimity Chaseling before the glittering diamonte Akubra could be placed officially upon her, with Sophie saying she'll have to learn some new hat-friendly hairstyles.
"I didn't plan the hairstyle for the hat," Sophie said.
She's also got her eyes on a new pair of cowboy boots for her official duties, saying she had more than a few blisters from her ten days attending the many events as a Queen entrant and learning to linedance with Dare 2 Dance's Chris Watson.
Saying among all the events attended she thoroughly enjoyed the rodeo but she said she got a little starstruck while handing her favourite country music artist Kasey Chambers a drink at the Golden Guitars after party at TRECC.
In fact her knowledge of Kasey proved a winner as judges noted her poise and quick-fire answers answering her onstage questions, all related to the Central Coast singer.
Asked to name an artist and when they were inducted in the Hands of Fame park in Tamworth, Sophie didn't miss a beat saying Kasey Chambers was inducted in 2008.
The popular contest run by the Tamworth Business Chamber saw 21 entrants this year judged by a panel of 'silent' judges, Michael Hansen, Daphne Shorten, Diana Bliss-Cook and Lawrence Hearne, whose identities became known only to girls on Friday night.
Judge Melinda McDonald said the new Queen 'shone' in every area of the judging process, and the team combination of Sophie and Kate was unbeatable.
"It was a very difficult decision as there was a number of outstanding girls, but we felt Sophie was a stand-out in every area," Mrs McDonald said.
'She's a very sincere and confident girl, who really made an effort to get to know Tamworth Business Chamber staff, members of the community and the other girls."
"She's a community minded girl with an obvious passion for Tamworth and her work in the community."
"We also thought Kate would be a wonderful support and will complement Sophie. I think these girls will make us proud."
Passing the torch on were the 2012 Queen Dimity Chaseling and Princess Shae McIntosh who shed one or two tears on the night, the pair dispensing a few words of wisdom to the newest queen as she entered her reign.
The voluminous red cape, which kept slipping off Sophie's shoulder during the crowning was the subject of one such Queen insight.
"She said 'you'll wear it tonight and then it'll sit in your closet for the rest of the year," Sophie laughed.
But it was the simple passing over of a phone number which really signified the bonds between the two Queens, past and present.
"Dimity said I'm only a phone call away. Call me anytime."