For 54 years, a Miss Outdoors teen beauty pageant has been held in conjunction with the World Championship Muskrat Skinning Contest in the Chesapeake Bay marshland community of Golden Hill, Maryland.

This year–for the first time in the long history of both events–two young beauty contestants also chose to skin muskrats in the companion portion of the competition.

Samantha Phillips, 17, was not the first young lady to skin a muskrat in the main contest, but she was the first to do it as her talent portion of the beauty pageant.


“I’ll be honest,” Phillips admitted to the enthusiastic audience. “I can’t sing, I can’t dance and I don’t play any musical instruments.”

But the girl knows how to skin a ‘rat!

Phillips gave a worthy skinning performance, and was named first runner-up in the beauty pageant and received a trophy as the only competitor in the beginner’s skinning division.

The newly crowned Miss Outdoors, Dakota Abbott, 16 (pictured here), won her division in muskrat skinning but opted to sing in the talent competition.

The teens told the Washington Post they were motivated to enter both events because they appreciated their outdoors heritage and how it reflected the history of their community.

Obviously, not only are the girls pretty, they are also quite smart and respectful. And they’re not afraid to get a little blood on their hands to prove a point.

“It’s not weird,” Phillips said. “You can be graceful and beautiful and well-poised and skin a muskrat.”

But that’s not to say that looks aren’t important to the teenagers. After all, Phillips’ muskrat, fresh out of a Conibear trap the morning of her performance, appeared to those particularly observant viewers to be expertly and deliberately coiffed.

“I did blow-dry it,” she confessed.