August 20, 2014 — Jeni Haler, a 19-year-old college student from Norwood Young America, Minn., representing Carver County, was crowned the 61st Princess Kay of the Milky Way in an evening ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, August 20.
Haler will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for more than 3,600 Minnesota dairy farm families. Jeni is the daughter of Rick Haler and Connie Helget Haasken, and attends the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, where she double majors in animal science and Spanish/Portuguese studies.
Twelve county dairy princesses from throughout Minnesota competed for the Princess Kay of the Milky Way title. Audrey Lane of Prior Lake, representing Scott County, and Sabrina Ley of Belgrade, representing Stearns County, were selected as runners-up. Gabriella Sorg of Hastings, representing Dakota County, was named Miss Congeniality. Scholarships were awarded to Annie Culbertson of Pine Island, representing Olmsted County; Sarah Post of Chandler, representing Murray County; and Lane.
Haler’s first official duty as Princess Kay will be to sit in a rotating cooler in the Dairy Building for nearly six hours to have her likeness sculpted in a 90-pound block of butter on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair. Each finalist will also have her likeness carved in butter during the fair. This year marks butter sculptor Linda Christensen’s 43rd year carving the Princess Kay of the Milky Way winner and finalists at the Minnesota State Fair.
Throughout her year-long reign as Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Haler will make public appearances to help connect consumers to Minnesota’s dairy farm families. She will also promote the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, through which she encourages students to get 60 minutes of exercise each day and eat a healthy diet that includes three servings of dairy.
Princess Kay candidates are judged on their general knowledge of the dairy industry, communication skills and enthusiasm for dairy. The Midwest Dairy Association sponsors the Princess Kay program, which is funded by the dairy checkoff.
Midwest Dairy Association® is a non-profit organization funded by dairy farmers to build demand for dairy products through integrated marketing, nutrition education and research. Midwest Dairy is funded by checkoff dollars from dairy farmers in a 10-state region, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.midwestdairy.com. Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook at Midwest Dairy.
Photo Credit: Midwest Dairy Association