From cover girl to biker babePublished 12:48pm Saturday, February 2, 2013
BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
PORTSMOUTH—Jenny Baugham is riding high and in style these days.
Already thousands of people have seen the former Boykins woman’s eye-catching image on an Interstate 264 billboard. This year’s “Miss Fleet Ride,” Baugham is perched on a Harley-Davidson for the billboard next to the Bayside Harley-Davidson dealership in Portsmouth.
Baugham, 24, is the 12th woman who’s won the privilege through an annual contest sponsored by the dealership.
“I heard about the contest through a photographer, and he said I should enter it and would have a good chance of winning,” said Baugham, who lives in Norfolk and works at Peabody’s, a Virginia Beach night club. “What did I have to lose?”
Last summer, she graced the cover of Western Tidewater Living for its feature on “Sensational Singles.”
Getting 600 “likes” for two photos on Facebook helped Baugham get into the dealership’s contest. She competed against nearly a dozen others, including her roommate, Kristan Cobb of Courtland and a fellow Southampton High School graduate.
The contest grew out of a fundraiser for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society co-organized by dealership president Kevin Johnson. The group helps deployed military families with bills, food, car repairs or other emergencies.
“We put a ride together at the old site on High Street (in Portsmouth),” said Johnson.
Contestants wore different outfits and answered the question, “what is Fleet Week and what does it mean to you?”
The three judges unanimously chose Baugham. Cobb was runner-up.
The Bayside Harley Girls, as they’re known for the year, participate in promotional events such as concerts, handing out flyers and taking pictures with fans. Among the perks are employee discounts.
The three-hour photo session for the billboard took place in December.
“It was good. I love doing photo shoots,” said Baugham, a Chowan University studio art graduate. “I felt like I was in my zone — in my comfort area.”
She didn’t see the final proof until the billboard went up on Tuesday.
“I really like it,” said the daughter of Debbie and Gary Baugham of Boykins.
Jenny Baugham also placed in the top five out of 30 for the International Bikini Team contest during the annual East Coast Surfing Championship at Virginia Beach in August.