Growing up, I had a good friend from Emerald and I’d often imagined what the small country town in central Queensland was like. So, when I was asked to judge this year’s Emerald 100 Race Day on October the 13th I jumped at the opportunity.
Emerald has a population of 14,000 and is 270 km west of Rockhampton. There’s something special about country races and I just LOVE them. As one of the main attractions of the year, the whole town gets involved, creating a super exciting atmosphere.
I took myself off to the airport on the Friday and boarded the (little) plane.
At the other end, I was greeted by the lovely Mary Bulger, who had organized my whole trip. We got chatting and I asked who my fellow judges were.
‘You’ she replied.
Yes, well of course. But, who else?
A Moment of Panic
I’m accustomed to judging panels of 3 to 5 and am comfortable with that. But this event was JUST me? That meant that the winner would be based solely on my opinion.
A string of negative thoughts followed… am I worthy of judging all the beautiful ladies who have put so much time and effort into their outfits? Will there be a barrage of angry ladies who didn’t win the hotly coveted sash, coming after me? And, what if I choose someone and no one else agrees? What if…? It went on and on.
I took a deep breath and thought about this logically.
Firstly, judging panels are often made up of sponsors who don’t know much about FOTF, so I definitely had the upper hand there.
Secondly, people must value my opinion and like my style if they’re asking me to come all the way out to their track to judge. And if I’m honest, I don’t know if anyone else spends as much time as I do looking at racing outfits and hats everyday- seeing as this is mostly what my days are made up of.
And thirdly, I guess that’s what makes FOTF fun… you NEVER know who is going to win, or what factors determine the winner, or what the judge is loving on that particular day.
I calmed down.
And thought about how excited I was to meet all the ladies in Emerald, especially those who I’ve been speaking to in my FB group. This outweighed the scary thoughts of judging alone and I began looking forward to the race day.
Judges, Dress the Part
I got up at a leisurely 8am on Saturday morning. I’m used to early starts, so this was a welcome sleep in.
I had decided to give my beautiful cream tulle dress with red floral embellishment, by Andrew Semple another spin, having worn it just once whilst judging in New Zealand.
I think it’s important to take the time to plan what I will wear when judging. It’s a privilege to be asked to judge and respectful to the entrants. If ladies are taking their time to enter a competition, then you, as a judge, should also make sure you dress accordingly.
A judge doesn’t have to be the best dressed, but they should certainly make an effort to show their personal style and also to demonstrate they know what they are talking about.
I hired my red wide brim hat from Millinery Market and absolutely LOVED it!! I had a pair of red pointed toe pumps from Big W ($10) and I added a touch of blue accessories, in the form of $4 earrings from Lovisa and a $4 belt from Adorne. How’s that for an outfit on a budget.
Thoughts on Solo Judging
Emerald is going through a drought, so even though the day was forecasted to be drenched in a whole lotta rain, it was the welcome change they needed. Luckily though, the morning started off nice and sunny, with only a few clouds overhead to keep the heat down.
It was lovely to meet so many ladies I have got to know through the Field Fashion Community Facebook Group and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to and taking photos with you all! I am truly grateful to those who made a trip out just to see me- very humbling.
The Emerald 100 fashions started at 1:30 pm and there were 5 categories for me to judge; Lady of the Day, Miss Emerald, Best Dressed Man, Couples category and Best Millinery.
There was a fantastic turn out in both of the women’s categories and an abundance of stunning outfits!
Judging alone wasn’t easy, as I had to ensure I stayed open minded to all styles and not just choose something that was within my own taste. Also, as I know how much time and effort goes into an outfit, I was looking at all aspects and details of each outfit carefully, to appreciate all the elements.
It’s hard to judge, as some outfits are simple, yet very well put together, and others have countless hours of work put in, but might be too busy. Another challenge is deciding whether to choose something that just looks classically chic and put together well, or to choose something a little different, with more detail.
And then what if it’s a dress you’ve seen many times before, should you mark down for that reason? Or should you judge as if you’ve not seen it before?
Being an avid DIY’er and embellisher, my personal taste is a little bit more, eclectic, than others, so it’s hard to decide whether to choose something that I personally like, or to try a more unbiased approach, as if there was a panel of judges.
A Look at the Amazing Outfits
Anyway, everyone looked amazing and I wish I could have awarded many more sashes!! But, unfortunately, it wouldn’t be much of a competition if everyone won. I picked my winners and felt I made good choices.
At 4pm the winners were announced, and then it started pouring! Everyone welcomed the rain.
Emerald 100 Races Afterparty
I made my way to the Maraboon Pub that evening, and I must say everyone at Emerald is just so darn friendly. I actually made two new friends whilst eating fries at McDonalds and had a little boogie before going home to bed after a long day!!
Are you getting excited for Spring Carnival? If you haven’t already, make sure you grab a copy of the 2018 Spring Racing Fashion Trends Report to see what styles, shapes and colours will be trending this race season.
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Spring Trends Report
The 2019 Spring Racing Fashion Trends Report. A 54 page, comprehensive guide to what's trending this race season. Plus, you'll receive exclusive weekly fashion tips to help you stand out at your next race event.