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The Film

It’s almost as if Christopher Guest is hovering appreciatively somewhere in the background.

Every year in a close-knit Chesapeake Bay community, the world’s fastest muskrat skinners face off in a truly cutthroat competition at the National Outdoor Show. One lucky young lady gets to be their queen. A celebration of hunting, fishing, trapping, goose calling, log sawing and most important of all, muskrat skinning, the Outdoor Show and its accompanying beauty pageant are the highlight of the year’s cultural activities in the town of Golden Hill, Maryland.

MUSKRAT LOVELY follows eight beauty contestants in the weeks leading to the 50th crowning of Miss Outdoors in an attempt to answer how a beauty pageant and a muskrat skinning contest came to co-exist.

Each girl reveals what she thinks makes her feel most glamorous: tanning, horseback riding, even sleeping. The audience also gets to watch the girls practice the opening number of the pageant, get tips on walking the runway and discuss the pros and cons of falsies in behind-the-scenes locker room drama.

No pageant or beauty queen was harmed in the making of this film, although a few muskrats were cut to pieces.
 —Pageant News Bureau review

A brief history of the Outdoor Show and the importance of muskrats to the Dorchester County area are woven into the pageant story, along with instructions on how to trap, skin and cook a muskrat.

More than just a story about a small town beauty pageant at a muskrat skinning competition, this ironic and tender look at an Eastern shore community captures both the feminine glamour of the beauty pageant and highlights of the fast-paced local sporting tradition. Perhaps unexpectedly, both events unfold on the same stage, in a town where men still make their living off the water and opportunities for glamour are few.

Get muskrat recipes and watch a skinning competition >>

View a slide show of other quirky pageants >>


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