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Being Princess Kay finalist is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 08/30/2013 1:20 PM

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WALTHAM, Minn. — The freezer is ready for Nicole Jax's butterhead.

Her mother, Becky, bought a freezer especially for Nicole's butterhead, which will come home after the state fair. Nicole, 19, is a Mower County Dairy Princess and a Princess Kay finalist.

This was the first year that Nicole Jax competed to be a Princess Kay finalist and her second year serving as a Mower County Dairy Princess. This was her first and last year to compete for Princess Kay, she said, because next year she plans to find work in South Dakota, where she's attending college.

She knew if she didn't compete, she'd regret it for the rest of her life. Being a Princess Kay finalist is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I really love to be a finalist," Jax said.

At her request, none of her family members came to the May event where the finalists were announced. She didn't want to share her news via telephone, wanting to tell her family in person. But her secret wasn't safe with her, as her mother found out via Facebook before she arrived home.

Jax is the 60th Mower County Dairy Princess, and she's a finalist with a chance to be selected the 60th Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Her father Doug's third cousin, Betty Jax Cole, was the sixth Princess Kay of the Milky Way. She was crowned in 1959.

Three Princess Kays have come from Mower County. In addition to Cole, formerly of Adams; Eleanor Maley Thatcher, formerly of Grand Meadow; and Ruth Marie Peterson Faber, formerly of Lansing, wore the crown. Thatcher was the first Princess Kay and Faber was the second.

The Mower County Dairy Princess program is steeped in tradition. The dairy princess banquet has been held at the Sacred Heart Church in Adams since it began. The same meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy has been served for 60 years. The meal is followed by big trays of bars and ice cream. It's a delicious meal, Jax said.

"We do dairy princess pretty big around here," she said.

Her mother, Becky (Anderson) Jax, was a Mower County Dairy Princess 24 years ago.

Jax enjoys getting out and talking to others about the dairy industry. She will be in several parades this summer. She will greet consumers at Mower County's Breakfast on the Farm on June 22 at the Sathre farm and at a Mower County Agricultural Appreciation event. Jax also will make a bank appearance in Brownsdale and visit child care centers with Olmsted County Dairy Princesses.

She is interning at Kemp's in Rochester this summer. She also works for her uncle, John, who has an 85-cow dairy between Austin and Brownsdale. Jax helps on her grandfather Lowell Anderson's farm, too. Her grandfather has a beef herd and goats, which started as her sister Dani's 4-H project.

If crowned Princess Kay, Jax said the first thing she'll do is go to the Miracle of Birth Center and see the calf named after her. The first calf born at the Miracle of Birth Center is named after Princess Kay, she said.