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Carver County Dairy Princess is finalist

By Janet Kubat Willette
jkubat@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 08/30/2013 1:31 PM

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CHASKA, Minn. — The Carver County Dairy Princess program is very active and has a lot of support.

It's not unusual to have two or three princess events each week, said Katie Buckentine, a Carver County Dairy Princess and Princess Kay finalist. The county has four princesses.

The princess candidates give speeches at the annual Dairy Day Dinner, which draws around 400 people. Awards are given to dairy farmers, and a dance follows.

The county dairy princesses are kept busy. Buckentine said she's done a lot of bank customer appreciation events this summer. She has been in parades. She also has visited a nursing home and library and did crafts with campers at a 4-H camp.

"I especially like working with the young kids and the senior citizens," Buckentine said. The young people have so many questions, and the senior citizens have agricultural memories.

She has been returning to the nursing home to visit with a resident who shares her interest in Ayrshires. Buckentine has five Ayrshire females (two cows and three heifers). She has been building the herd since buying her first Ayrshire calf five years ago. Her dream is to save the Ayrshire breed, which is known for its longevity and conversion of grass to milk.

The Buckentine family milks 50 cows, including her Ayrshires. The family herd is Holsteins. The family finishes their own steers, runs a farrow-to-finish hog operation and raises corn, soybean, oats and alfalfa on 550 acres.

Buckentine, 18, milks cows and feeds calves at the home farm in the evening. She also fills in where needed, said her father, John. In the morning, she milks for a farmer near Norwood Young America.

"I've just loved cows my whole life," Buckentine said, sharing that her mother texted her updates when her show cow, Bubbles, was born. As soon as she got off the school bus she ran to see the calf.

Buckentine said she's wanted to be a dairy princess for as long as she can remember. Her first email address was dairyprincess73. The number of her favorite calf at the time was 73.

In second grade, she took speech classes so as not to slur her 's,' her father said.

She looks at the butterheads each year at the state fair. The last two years, she's looked at the butterheads to see how close they compare to the finalists.

This year, she will have her own butterhead to bring home. The family isn't quite ready for it yet. They'll have to replace their freezer before the end of the state fair, said her mother, Jeanie.

Carver County has had a string of finalists in recent years with three finalists in the last two years, Buckentine said. The last Princess Kay from the county was 1990 when Beth Mesenbring from Cologne was crowned. Before that, in 1982, Carver County's Janet Forner was Princess Kay.

Plans are well underway for the Carver County coronation celebration the night before the state fair begins.

A fan bus is planned, and her sister, Anna, is designing a T-shirt for Buckentine's supporters to wear. The sapphire colored T-shirt will say "Carver County" on the left chest, and on the back it will say "Katie puts the K in Princess K."

Carver County is a strong dairy county with a huge dairy show at the county fair in early August, Jeanie said.

Buckentine will take five cattle to the fair, and the family will have 10 total. Anna and their brother, Michael, will show, too. Michael shows in open class.

She has helped educate the public about agriculture through the FFA's Food for America. They visit four elementary schools in eastern Carver County each year and bring one or two animals from each species. After the educational event, there is a petting zoo.