Farm Horizons, May 2005

Wright County celebrates 50 years of dairy princesses

By Lynda Jensen

For the past 50 years, crowns have been placed upon young ladies in Wright County to represent the dairy industry.

According to records compiled by the 50th anniversary dairy princess committee, being from Howard Lake was a pretty good advantage to being named a dairy princess.

More than 40 girls from Howard Lake can lay claim to the dairy princess title out of about 137 girls crowned, including a number of them who were selected as regional princesses.

This, despite the fact that there are 14 cities inside the county, with the next highest number of dairy royalty from any one community being Maple Lake with 15.

Three former regional princesses are still living in the Howard Lake area, Angie Bakeberg, (2001), Colette Thorson (1993 and 1996), and Linda Groos (1985 and 1986).

All three reported the highlight of their reigns as being crowned regional princesses, and meeting other royalty.

“It was a dream come true,” said Colette Thorson. She remembers giving a “Got Milk?” button to a young girl as a runner up for Princess Kay, during a break when her likeness was being carved in a block of butter.

Bakeberg remembers the excitement of having her head carved into butter.

“The best part of the experience was the ‘I’m proud of you’ smiles that I received from my family and the farming community,” commented Linda Groos.

“I enjoyed meeting different people,” Angie Bakeberg said. Bakeberg works as the coordinator for the dairy profitability enhancement program for Carver County.

“It’s changed a lot over the past 20 years,” said Pam Koenen (1985 and 1985), who was a regional runner up, about the program.

She remembers serving milk from everyone between the age of two to 80 at the “all you can drink” milk booth, which is still in place today at the Wright County Fair.

One time, Koenen recalled a young girl taking some cheese at a dairy display – unfortunately it was a jalepeno stick, she said. “The poor thing’s tongue was on fire, and they found what they could to cool her down, she said. “I’ll never forget that.”

Today, Koenen is using the skills she picked up from being a dairy princess, particularly her public speaking skills, as an agricultural instructor at Alden-Conger School District near Albert Lea..

For Eva Moulton (1961), the highlight of being a dairy princess was meeting her future husband, Royal Moulton. “The biggest thing for me was that he noticed me,” she said

Fifteen girls competed in 1961, with three being crowned that year, Moulton said. Herself, Gayle Schubert of Delano, and Bonnie Shulz of Monticello.

There was less fanfare then, she said. “They do so much more now than we ever did.”

For a simple country girl, just riding on a fancy convertible was a thrill, she said. Banquets were also a treat.

Waving to children at parades was a highlight for Stacey Spurzem (1998 and 1999). She remembers her seat breaking down twice on her during parades on the aging float, which featured the dairy cow on it, much the same as today.

Spurzem continues to be involved in the dairy princess program, and has been ever since her reign.

Fifty one former dairy royalty attended the celebration for the 50th, coordinated by the 50th anniversary dairy princess committee.

The committee was composed of the following people: Mary Lindberg, Spurzem, Thorson, Angie Burlau, Seena Glessing, Nancy Zander, Kristi Swanson, Faye Bakeberg, and Cindi Stifter.

The following is a list of local dairy princesses during the 50 years of the Wright County dairy princess program.

Of the approximate 137 girls crowned, 41 were from Howard Lake area, 15 from Maple Lake, 14 from Buffalo, nine from Waverly, eight from Monticello, seven from Annandale, five from Cokato, four from Montrose, four from Delano, two from St. Michael/Albertville, and one each from the communities of Elk River and Loretto. There are about 21 girls who were not designated from a town and whose records were unable to be located. The information is from the 50th anniversary dairy committee, which spent weeks pouring over newspaper records and other documents to assemble the information.

1955 - Martha Banke, Howard Lake; Betty Ann Eull, Buffalo; Barbara Johnson, Cokato; Ramona (Friendshoch) Daleiden, St. Michael; Margaret (Leinonen) Groop

1956 - Carol Rabens, Montrose; Josephine Luebke, West Albion/French Lake; Marcia Buck, Monticello

1957 - Audrey Lundquist, Monticello; Gloria Nelson, Cokato; Caroline Varner, Buffalo

1960 - Karen (Oelke) Bergmann, Howard Lake; Mary (Ring) Uhlend, Maple Lake; Mary Ann (Fobbe) Stellmach, Maple Lake

1961 - Eva (Lorentz) Moulton; Bonnie Schulz, Monticello; Gayle (Schubert) Burse, Delano

1962 - Lois (Strandquist) Fredeen, Montrose; Judy (Baker) Gillham, Maple Lake; Karen (Smith) Dingman, Maple Lake

1963 - LaMae Dangers, Howard Lake; Karen (Oelke) Bergmann, Waverly; Mary Ann (Schubert) Peterson, Buffalo

1965 - Lou Ann (Dangers) Munson, Howard Lake; Mary Ann Schubert, Buffalo; Meryl (Kottke) Barthel, Loretto

1968 - Sharon Peterson, Monticello; Karen (Wetter) Koester, Buffalo; Janet Fobbe, Maple Lake

1969 - Judi (Bobrowske) Wogen, Howard Lake; Rosemary (Clark) Putzke, Howard Lake; Patricia (Piram) Tollefson, Maple Lake

1970 - Barbara Klein, Monticello; Janet (Nelson), Dahlman, Monticello; Patricia (Piram) Tollefson, Maple Lake

1971 - Nola (Carlson) Nilsson, Buffalo; Sue Jude, Maple Lake; Carol (Schmidt) Meyer, Buffalo

1972 - Colleen (Gagnon) Kimberly, Waverly; Patricia (Vetsch) Lenz, Monticello; Susan (Wurm) Michalis, Maple Lake

1973 - LuAnn (Perra) Parnell, Waverly; Andrea (Behrenbrinker) Ahlm, Buffalo; Regina (Ziegler) Beers, Cokato

1974 - Susan (Birkholz) Zander, Howard Lake; Lois (Boehlke) Nichols, Waverly; Shelly (Ordorff) Fadden, Buffalo

1975 - Debbie (Schillewaert) Markling, Monticello; Betty (Wurm) Stuhr, Maple Lake; Rene Zachman, St. Michael/Albertville

1976 - Brenda (Jost) Raiche, Annandale; Nancy (Mavencamp) VanSichel, Maple Lake; Ruth (Varner) Rose, Buffalo

1977 - Randi (Machovsky) Kelly, Annandale; Jennifer (Nelson) Stewart, Annandale; Gwen (Vendergon) Johnson, Maple Lake;

1978 - Dawn (Glessing) Sawatzke, Howard Lake; Marianne Pokornowski, Cokato; Terri Jost, Annandale

1979 - Kathy (Zachman) Weber, Jackie Sadowski, Jean Barrett

1980 - Bonny (Streich) Luthy, Howard Lake; Sandra (Zeidler) Exsted, Howard Lake; Laura (Rumpza) Schelde, Delano

1981 - Sharon (Lindenfelser) LaPorte, Monticello; Christine (Mavencamp) Dombrovski, Maple Lake; Jacquelyn Berg, Annandale

1982 - Cathy (Dangers) Jones, Howard Lake/Waverly; Laurie (Latzig) Larson, Howard Lake/Waverly; Michelle (Uter) Schwartz, Howard Lake/Waverly

1983 - Julie (Diers) Berning, Howard Lake; Suzanne (Salonek) Stotko, Montrose; Theresa (Holland) Henson, Buffalo

1984 - Pamela (Boehlke) Koenen, Waverly; Minda (Bodin) Vininski, Waverly; Valerie Zander, Maple Lake

1985 - Linda (Diers) Groos, Howard Lake; Pamela (Boehlke) Koenen; Rebecca Fiedler, Annandale

1986 - Wendy (Epple) Madson, Montrose; Jill (Engel) Kittock, Howard Lake; Betty Ann (Elsenpeter) Miller, Maple Lake; Linda (Diers) Groos, Howard Lake; Lolene Liefert

1987 - Paula (Boehlke) Fritzke, Waverly; Janelle (Dalbec) Koch, Howard Lake; Julianne (Triplett) Decker, Annandale; Diane (Weldele) Toohey, Buffalo

1988 - Rena (Duske) Gruenhagen, Waverly; Nancy (Domjahn) Zander; Rena (Gruenhagen) Duske, Waverly; Bonni (Kowalke) Ainsworth, Buffalo

1989 - Nancy (Domjahn) Zander, Howard Lake; Tracy Diers, Howard Lake; Michele Marketon

1990 - Tami Berg, Howard Lake; Tracy (Diers) Janikula; Cami Dixon, Buffalo

1991 - Laura Diers, Howard Lake; Stacey (Colins) Engel, Monticello

1992 - Laura Diers, Howard Lake; Lauri (Beaudry) O’Sullivan; Susan McAlpine

1993 - Colette (Diers) Thorson, Howard Lake; Marie (Murphy) Lambrecht, Delano; Theresa (Vergin) Priem, Elk River

1994 - DeeAnn Boehlke, Waverly

1995 - Kari (Wozniak) Hegg; Cari (Berg) Backes, Cokato; Caliste Motzko, Lester Prairie

1996 - Colette (Diers) Thorson, Howard Lake; Joyce (Beaudry) Weber, Monticello

1997 - Joyce (Beaudry) Weber, Michelle Esselman; Angie (Bakeberg) Barlau, Waverly

1998 - Stacy (Wozniak) Spurzem; Lisa Lenneman; Michelle Esselman

1999 - Stacy Wozniak, Howard Lake; Rachel (Bakeberg) Bender, Howard Lake; Betty Berning, Albertville

2000 - Mary (Bakeberg) Lindberg, Howard Lake; Dawn Lambert

2001 - Angie (Bakeberg) Barlau; Anne Wetter; Melissa Spike

2002 - Molly Miller, Kristi Swanson, Tara Johnson

2003 - Amy Kozitka, Howard Lake; Sarah Dennis, Delano; Danielle Sonsteby, Clearwater; Heather Klatt, Buffalo

2004 - Amy Kozitka, Howard Lake; Mandi Stifter, Howard Lake; Tricia Uecker; Shandi Pawelk

2005 - Amy Kozitka, Howard Lake; Michelle Beaudry, Albertville

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