Kyla Mauk, a 19-year-old college student from Howard Lake, Minn., representing Wright County, was crowned the 62nd Princess Kay of the Milky Way in an evening ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds August 26.
Mauk will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for nearly 3,500 Minnesota dairy farm families. Kyla is the daughter of Chris and Harlan Mauk, and attends South Dakota State University, where she is pursuing a degree in agriculture education.
Twelve county dairy princesses from throughout Minnesota competed for the Princess Kay of the Milky Way title. Kylee Fernholz of Hoffman, representing Douglas County, and Ellen Sheehan of Rochester, representing Olmsted County, were selected as runners-up. Kylee Fernholz was also named Miss Congeniality. Scholarships were awarded to Michele Green of Greenbush, representing Roseau County, Samantha Keller of Goodhue, representing Goodhue County, and Kyla Mauk.
Throughout her year-long reign as Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Mauk 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 physical activity each day and eat a healthy diet that includes three servings of dairy.
Mauk'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 – Thursday, August 27. This year marks butter sculptor Linda Christensen's 44th year carving the Princess Kay of the Milky Way winner and finalists at the Minnesota State Fair. Other finalists are scheduled to have their likenesses sculpted as follows:
- Friday, August 28: Michele Green, Greenbush, representing Roseau County
- Saturday, August 29: Maggie Mills, Lake City, representing Goodhue County
- Sunday, August 30: Jennifer Oelfke, Hamburg, representing Sibley County
- Monday, August 31: Kylee Fernholz, Hoffman, representing Douglas County
- Tuesday, September 1: McKinzie Smith, Adams, representing Mower County
- Wednesday, September 2: Samantha Keller, Goodhue, representing Goodhue County
- Thursday, September 3: Ellen Sheehan, Rochester, representing Olmsted County
- Friday, September 4: Carley Vinkemeier, Norwood Young America, representing Carver County
- Saturday, September 5: Rachel Stender, Lester Prairie, representing McLeod County
- Sunday, September 6: Kallie Baker, Plainview, representing Wabasha County
- Monday, September 7: Morgan Uphoff, Melrose, representing Stearns County
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 dairy farmers through their promotion 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.
Source: Midwest Dairy Association