Farm Horizons, May 2010

Royalty runs in the family for Princess Kay Elizabeth Olson of McLeod County

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

She may be the 58th Princess Kay of the Milky Way, but Hutchinson-native Elizabeth Olson is also a down-to-earth farmer’s daughter.

“Even though this year will come to an end, dairy and agriculture will always be a part of my life,” said Elizabeth, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities majoring in animal science and applied economics.

The Princess Kay competition is a long-standing tradition in the Olson family.

“Both of my sisters have gone through it,” said Elizabeth, the daughter of Loren and Laura Olson.

Sarah Olson Schmidt was Princess Kay in 2002, and Lana Olson was a Princess Kay finalist in 2005.

“We’re pretty excited to have three butter heads,” Elizabeth said. “My mom bought a brand new freezer to keep them.”

When Elizabeth was crowned last August, it was the first time two sisters had been selected since the start of the program in 1954.

Growing up, Elizabeth had always looked up to the girls who were crowned as Princess Kay.

“For any dairy farmer’s daughter, it is like winning the Olympics,” she said.

Elizabeth was crowned a McLeod County dairy princess in March of 2009, and a few months later, she was chosen as one of 12 Princes Kay finalists.

“Being a finalist is an honor in itself,” she said. “Princess Kay is just the cherry on top.”

Elizabeth was crowned on opening day of the Minnesota State Fair.

“The Minnesota State Fair was great,” she said. “It was 12 days of constant promotion.”

Elizabeth felt right at home at the fair, having exhibited registered Holsteins there for the past seven years.

“It is tiring as a dairy farmer, but also as a princess,” she laughed.

Like a true farmer, Elizabeth isn’t one to shy away from long days, however.

Since her coronation last summer, she has been traveling all over the state of Minnesota, promoting the industry she loves.

Visiting schools with Viktor, the Minnesota Vikings mascot, made for some treasured memories, according to Elizabeth.

“You would not believe how excited the kids get,” she said.

The boys like listening to Viktor, and the girls enjoy seeing her crown, Elizabeth said.

“At first, I thought the message would be lost, but so far, it’s been really effective,” she said.

Some schools are considering taking away flavored milk, but Elizabeth said that this type of drink is still a nutritious choice, despite added sugars.

“It comes with nine essential nutrients,” she said.

Everywhere she goes, Elizabeth is eager to share positive messages about the dairy industry.

“I would love to be everywhere,” she said.

She’s especially thankful for the dairy farmers who have helped her become who she is today.

“I couldn’t have done it without you,” she said.

The farm Elizabeth grew up on has been in the Olson family for 115 years. The family milks 45 registered Holsteins, and has about 110 head of cattle.

To learn more about the Princess Kay program, which is sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Association, go to www.midwestdairy.com.

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