Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 19, 2003

Mandi Stifter named state Jersey Queen

By Julie Yurek

Mandi Stifter loves Jersey cows, especially her own.

Her love for the breed helped her win the crown of 2003 Minnesota Jersey Queen in March.

Stifter, 17, is the daughter of Matt and Cyndi Stifter of Howard Lake. She is a junior at Holy Trinity Schools in Winsted.

Stifter was elected by her parish, a part of the Jersey Association, last fall as parish three princess, she said. It was decided by a verbal vote at the annual meeting in Norwood Young America.

She then went on to compete for Jersey Queen.

Part of the selection process was being asked questions about the Jersey breed. The night before the competition, a banquet dinner was conducted and an unknown guest joined Stifter and her parents at the table. It turned out that the guest was a judge, she said.

Part of her duties as Jersey Queen will include parades in surrounding communities, handing out ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair, and the Jersey Picnic, which she won't be able to attend because she will be attending Girls State the same day, she said.

Stifter also has the option of working at the Jersey booth at the Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.

In November, Stifter will go to Louisville, Ky. to compete for national Jersey Queen, she said.

Next March, Stifter will pass on her title of Jersey Queen in Willmar, she said.

Mandi's mother Cyndi suggested that Mandi run for Jersey princess, Stifter said.

When Stifter was a little girl, she saw the Jersey Queen handing out ribbons at the state fair and always wanted to do that someday, she said.

"I love the Jersey cows," she said. Being the Jersey Queen gives her an opportunity "to brag about her cows and help people to understand the breed," she said.

Stifter is very involved on her family's farm. Her main area of responsibility is taking care of the calves.

Every morning and night she feeds them and monitors them. She can tell if one is sick or something is wrong because she interacts with them daily, she said.

She also helps feed the other cows, change pasture, help milk, and plow fields in the fall. The Stifters milk 36 cows, and have "a pasture full of steers, heifers, and young livestock," she said.

Working on the farm is "so relaxing. It's a stress reliever for me," she said.

Stifter is also very involved in the Sunrise 4-H Club, which she has been a member since kindergarten.

Four-H runs in her family, she said. Her brothers, Eric, 19, and Rick, 15, are or have been members, as was Matt, and Stifter's grandfather, she said. The family received a plaque last year for being a "4-H family," she said.

Stifter is preparing for the Wright County Fair at the end of July. She is going to show one of her heifers in 4-H, she said.

She hopes to qualify for the state fair, she said. She has shown cattle at the fair once before in seventh grade and last year in 10th grade. She also had a wildlife exhibit that qualified in sixth and seventh grade.

If Stifter does qualify in 4-H, she will be at the fair for all 12 days between 4-H events and Jersey Queen duties, she said.

Some of those days she will have to arrive at the 4-H barn at 4 a.m. to bathe, clip, trim, and brush her heifer for show, after show go home for volleyball practice, and then go back at night to feed her animal, she said.

Stifter has activities that she is involved in besides just cows. She plays volleyball, is in dance, and softball. She also likes to spend time with friends.

After high school, Stifter may attend North Dakota State University for nursing or she may join her brother in the military and go into the Army National Guard; Eric is in the Navy, she said.

She would pursue a medical profession in the National Guard, she said.

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