Candidates milk

by Amy Olson

With milk dripping from their udders before the milking contest began, four of the University’s dairy cows helped determine the fate of the 34 remaining Homecoming candidates Tuesday afternoon on the St. Paul campus.
The milking contest, along with free hot dogs, milk-chugging contests and cheering competitions, was part of the festivities for Homecoming’s third annual St. Paul Day.
Tina Rovick, coordinator for the Campus Involvement Center, said the tradition began three years ago in an effort to expand the Homecoming festivities on the St. Paul campus.
“It’s a beautiful place,” Rovick said, adding that the celebration is a good way to bring students to the campus.
The day began with cheering competitions around 10 a.m. that continued throughout the day. Eighteen teams of students from the University’s residence halls, sororities and fraternities competed in the spirit competition, earning “spirit points” for their cheers. At the end of the week, the group with the most points will be given a trophy for having the most school spirit.
Many students stopped by the St. Paul Student Center’s terrace to take advantage of the free lunch.
Homecoming executive committee member Joe Lukanen said the group gave away 2,000 hot dogs over a one-and-a-half hour period. Lukanen is a sophomore studying chemical engineering.
After all the hot dogs were gone, about 40 students competed in milk-chugging competitions. Lance Miller, a senior in the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, won a certificate for a free pizza from Domino’s for chugging about 20 ounces of milk in less than 10 seconds, beating out eight finalists.
“Ten bucks says they won’t drink milk for a week,” said Tonya Schuh, a member of the Homecoming executive committee.
But the highlight of the afternoon was the milking contest. All 34 royalty candidates competed, milking four of the University’s dairy cows, who patiently chewed their cud or blinked their eyes as 150 on-lookers watched and said, “Ew, it’s warm!” and “She pooped!”
Three candidates — Brad Finstad, Maureen Vollrath and Josh Schwantes — tied for first place.
Schwantes, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, said he didn’t know what to expect before the contest.
Eb Ballinger, a sophomore in the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences and dairy barn worker, held onto one of the four cows during the amateur contest.
“It’s kind of fun to see how some of the city kids react,” Ballinger said.
After the executive committee totals the candidates’ points for spirit, the pool will narrow to six male and six female students. Rovick said the remaining candidates will be announced today, with coronation taking place at Friday evening’s pep fest.