Caryn Walker, who was runner-up in the 2014 Open + Direct Miss Northern Ireland competition, will take away many great memories from the contest.
Caryn, who is 22, works at Smith Brothers Eventing outside Gilford and was initially quite reluctant to enter the nationwide competition.
“My brother’s fiancee pushed me towards it and got me to enter. I entered and then I won ‘Miss North Coast’ at the start of the year at a heat in Shenanigans Restaurant in Portstewart. That was one of the earliest heats, so I’ve been involved with the competition from the start.”
Although Caryn lives in Magherafelt, she travels an hour every morning to work in Gilford - a commute which she believes is worth it.
She said, “I’ve been working there almost two years and it honestly doesn’t really feel like work. It’s probably one of the best event yards to be working in - Steven and Trevor (Smith) are fantastic.”
This year’s Open + Direct Miss NI final took place at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on May 12 when 26 finalists competed for the crown. “It was a really good experience,” Caryn said. “We did a lot of photo shoots and stayed at the Europa the weekend before the final. I met loads of great girls and we’ll definitely keep in contact; we’re already planning a get together!”
This year’s competition winner was Rebekah Shirley, a student from Ballymoney, but the competition has provided a wealth of opportunities for each of the 26 finalists. “People say the competition opens a lot of doors for you. If the opportunity came about to do promotion work, I’d love to,” Caryn continued.
Caryn added, “My family have our own yard in Ballymena - horses take up most of my time. I’m out eventing with my own horse at the minute and just love it.”