Farm Horizons, June 2015

Local girls among Princess Kay finalists

By Starrla Cray and Julia Jagodzinski

Dairy princesses from Wright, McLeod, and Carver counties were among those selected as Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists May 17.

The 12 finalists were named at the conclusion of a three-day workshop in St. Cloud attended by nearly 70 county dairy princesses. They include:

• Rachel Stender, 17, Lester Prairie, representing McLeod County, daughter of Allen and Lisa Stender;

• Kyla Mauk, 19, Howard Lake, representing Wright County, daughter of Chris and Harlan Mauk;

• Carley Vinkemeier, 18, Norwood Young America, representing Carver County, daughter of Jeff and Tina Vinkemeier;

• Jennifer Oelfke, 18, Hamburg, representing Sibley County, daughter of Jim and Jody Oelfke;

• Kallie Baker, 18, Plainview, representing Wabasha County, daughter of Natalie and Bruce Wood;

• Kylee Fernholz, 18, Hoffman, representing Douglas County, daughter of Mark and Michele Fernholz;

• Michele Green, 20, Greenbush, representing Roseau County, daughter of Doug and Corena Green;

• Samantha Keller, 19, Goodhue, representing Goodhue County, daughter of Ted and Lora Keller;

• Maggie Mills, 18, Lake City, representing Goodhue County, daughter of Kent and Deborah Mills;

• Ellen Sheehan, 19, Rochester, representing Olmsted County, daughter of Jerome and Karen Sheehan;

• McKinzie Smith, 21, Adams, representing Mower County, daughter of Rick and Tracy Smith; and

• Morgan Uphoff, 18, Melrose, representing Stearns County, daughter of Victor and Ann Uphoff.

About Princess Kay

Princess Kay makes appearances to help explain Minnesota dairy farmers’ commitment to taking care of animals and resources while providing wholesome, nutritious, and affordable dairy products. Midwest Dairy Association manages the program.

Princess Kay finalists are chosen based on a written application, a short speech, a professional interview, and a simulated media interview.

State dairy princesses from Iowa and South Dakota also attended the judging event May 17, along with the reigning Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Jeni Haler of Carver County.

Princess Kay is crowned each August the night before the opening of the Minnesota State Fair.

All 12 finalists have their likeness carved in butter during the Minnesota State Fair and make public appearances during the fair’s 12-day run.

Rachel Stender of Lester Prairie

McLeod County Dairy Princess Rachel Stender’s parents are Allen and Lisa Stender of Lester Prairie. She is the youngest of two, having one older brother.

Rachel will be attending Southwest Minnesota State University in the fall. She is planning on majoring in secondary education while at SMSU.

Her favorite dairy product is cheese. Her favorite way to have cheese is in her mom’s cheese dip.

Rachel’s favorite farm chore is feeding the calves on Lachermeier’s farm, where she works. Her least favorite chore is having to sweep the feed back into the row after the cows fling it out with their noses.

Her grandpa’s farm, where she helps out sometimes, milks 85 cows; and Lachermeier’s farm milks 105 cows.

Kyla Mauk of Howard Lake

Wright County Dairy Princess Kyla Mauk is the daughter of Chris and Harlan Mauk. She is the oldest of three Mauk children.

Kyla just finsished her spring semester at South Dakota State University. While at SDSU, she is planning on majoring in agricultural education.

Kyla’s favorite dairy product is chocolate milk. She epecially likes to have chocolate milk after a workout.

Her favorite chore on the farm is feeding the calves; she loves to watch them be born and grow up. The chore that she likes the least is weedwhipping.

Kyla’s family’s farm milks a total of 88 cows.

Carley Vinkemeier of NYA

Carver County County Dairy Princess Carley Vinkemeier’s parents are Jeff and Tina Vinkemeier of Norwood Young America. Carley has five siblings, three brothers and two sisters.

Carley is graduating from high school this year, and will be attending college in the fall.

The dairy product that Carley likes the most is cheese.

Her favorite farm chore is milking the cows, and her least favorite is cleaning the pens for the calves.

The farm that their family owns milks 120 cows.

Jennifer Oelfke of Hamburg

Sibley County Dairy Princess Jennifer Oelfke is the daughter of Jim and Jody Oelfke. Jennifer is one of four kids, with two sisters and one brother.

Jennifer just finished her spring semester at Minnesota State University. She is planning on majoring in exercise science while at MNSU.

Jennifer’s favorite dairy product is yogurt.

While she likes all of the chores on the farm, her favorite is feeding the newborn calves.

Her family’s farm has a total of 220 cows that they milk.

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