By Starrla Cray
CARVER, McLEOD COUNTIES, MN For two local dairy princesses, the dream of becoming Princess Kay of the Milky Way is within reach.
Maria Siegle, representing Carver County, and Elizabeth Olson, representing McLeod County, were chosen as Princess Kay finalists during the 2009 MN Dairy Princess contest May 17 at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph.
One of the 12 finalists will be named the 56th Princess Kay during ceremonies Aug. 26, the night before the State Fair opens.
“I’ve wanted to be a dairy princess probably since my first memory of seeing a dairy princess when I was about four years old,” said Olson, the daughter of Loren and Laura Olson of Hutchinson. “Growing up on a dairy farm, it’s sort of the epitome of being a dairy farmer’s daughter.”
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Siegle, the daughter of Steven and Sandra Siegle of Cologne.
Both Siegle, 21, and Olson, 19, said the finalist competition was a fun, exciting experience.
“It went really well,” Olson said. “It was jam-packed full of informational sessions. This was an opportunity to meet other girls and learn ways to promote the dairy industry.”
Neither of the girls expected to be chosen as a finalist, however.
“I was hoping for it. I took this seriously and prepared for it, but I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Olson said.
“It was such a good group of girls competing,” Siegle added. “I knew that it would be tough.”
“All 90 were just great, great girls,” Olson said.
Siegle and Olson are both first-time dairy princesses. Because they were chosen as finalists for Princess Kay, it will also be their last year, because finalists are not eligible to run again.
The two princesses said they are looking forward to their county appearances, as well as the State Fair, when the 2009 Princess Kay will be chosen.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to know those girls as well,” Siegle said. “For now, though, I’m just excited to get started with June dairy month.”
When they aren’t busy with princess duties, Olson and Siegle both enjoy working on their parents’ dairy farms.
“I love the dairy industry and I love working on my farm,” Olson said. One of her favorite parts about farming is talking to her family and other people about the cows. The Olsons name all their cows, she said, with names like Delilah, Delicacy, and Delicious.
“Delilah’s birthday is the same day as mine,” Olson said. “She’s 16.”
For Siegle, feeding the animals is one of the best parts of her job, but she likes a variety of chores.
“There are so many different things to do on the farm,” she said.
Olson’s two sisters also served the dairy industry as princesses. Sarah Olson was Princess Kay in 2002, and Lana Olson was a Princess Kay finalist in 2005.
“My parents are, needless to say, very good parents, to have raised three butter heads,” Olson said.
Olson recently completed her freshmen year at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She plans to major in animal science and pre-veterinary medicine.
Siegle recently graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter with a major in elementary education. In the fall, she will have a teaching internship in Le Sueur and will take graduate courses from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Butter Sculpting Facts from the MDA
Curious about the famous butter-sculpting event at the Minnesota State Fair? Check out these facts from the Midwest Dairy Association.
• The butter-sculpting booth is a Minnesota State Fair exhibit sponsored by Midwest Dairy Association through its nearly 5,000 Minnesota dairy farmers.
• On opening day of the State Fair, the newly crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way spends 6 to 8 hours in the butter sculpture booth, having her likeness carved. This procedure continues each of the remaining days of the fair with the 11 other Princess Kay candidates.
• The year 2008 marks the debut of a brand new butter-sculpting booth, which is larger than its 43-year-old predecessor and offers a much better view of the action.
• In 1965, the American Dairy Association of Minnesota began its tradition of having the likenesses of dairy princesses sculpted in butter, and constructed the original booth.
• Each sculpture is carved from a 90-pound block of Grade A butter. The butter blocks are produced at AMPI in New Ulm exclusively for this activity at the State Fair.
• This year will be artist Linda Christensen’s 37th year of creating butter sculptures for the dairy industry at the Minnesota State Fair.
• The temperature inside the rotating butter booth is 40°F.
• The history of butter sculpture began in the 1800s when frontier women molded and imprinted their homemade butter.
• It takes 21.8 pounds of whole milk to make a pound of butter.