Saturday, March 1, 2008

BEAUTY QUEENS AND VARMITS

So if you are gonna be Miss Outdoors, you better be ready to skin a muskrat.

No kidding.

Muskrat skinning was the "talent" portion of the 2008 Miss Outdoors pageant, part of an improbable Eastern Shore festival that combines the worlds of beauty contests and competitive varmit skinning. The pageant and the skinning contest were part of the 63rd annual National Outdoor Show, held last weekend in the town of Golden Hill.

" . . . You want to take your knuckles," 17-year-old Samantha Phillips, Contestant No. 1, was saying. One of the pageant judges squinched up her face in shock. "And separate the meat from the hide, just like this."

Yike.

Dakota Abbot, 16, this year's Miss Outdoors, was one of two pageant contestants to enter the muskrat-skinning competition. (Preston Keres/Washington Post)

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