U Student named State Fair Dairy Princess

Applied Economics junior Kristy Mussman, the 2008-2009 “Princess Kay of the Milky Way,” reads “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” to children and families at the State Fair Friday. “[Interacting with children] is probably my favorite part of being Princess Kay,” Mussman said.

Tara Sloane

Applied Economics junior Kristy Mussman, the 2008-2009 “Princess Kay of the Milky Way,” reads “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” to children and families at the State Fair Friday. “[Interacting with children] is probably my favorite part of being Princess Kay,” Mussman said.

Just weeks before heading back to school to begin her junior year in college, Kristy Mussman added the title of Princess Kay of the Milky Way to her résumé. The applied economics student was crowned Aug. 20, the night before the start of the Minnesota State Fair. Mussman, enrolled in the College of Food and Natural Resource Sciences, was one of four University students vying for the title and was chosen from a pool of more than 90 county dairy princesses. She spent her first day, nearly eight hours, in a revolving 40-degree cooler while her face was carved into a 90 pound block of butter, a fair tradition for all twelve finalists. âÄúThis will be my familyâÄôs second butterhead,âÄù Mussman said, whose sister, Melissa, was a contestant in 2003. âÄúWe still have my sisterâÄôs, and are trying to decide what to do with both of them.âÄù During the 12-day duration of the fair, Mussman worked in the Moo Booth, gave milking demonstrations and took part in the Little Farm Hands exhibit, where kids learned about farming. During her reign, Mussman will travel around Minnesota leading classroom discussions about the importance of dairy, explaining to children that milk âÄúdoesnâÄôt just come from the grocery store.âÄù Growing up on a farm in Claremont, Minn., Mussman is a third generation dairy farmer where she helps milk more than 45 Holstein cows. As a student at the University, she is an employee at the Waite Library, part of the Beta of Clovia sorority and a member of the Dairy Club. Out of the 12 finalists, Mussman was chosen based on her enthusiasm, general knowledge and passion for promoting the industry, said Char Hovland, industry relations manager at the Midwest Dairy Association and Princess Kay coordinator. âÄúOnly about 1 percent of working people are farmers,âÄù Hovland said. âÄúWe need an ambassador who can go out and explain the importance of the business.âÄù Ann Miron , an agriculture education junior at the University, crowned Mussman and said some of her favorite memories as a past Princess Kay included interactive classroom events with elementary students, traveling all over Minnesota and improving her public-speaking skills. Ashlee Hartwig , a sophomore at the UniversityâÄôs Duluth campus, was named a runner-up and Miss Congeniality. âÄúI just couldnâÄôt stop smiling,âÄù Hartwig said when she was crowned. âÄúIt was a great, overwhelming feeling.âÄù Mussman is the Dairy AssociationâÄôs 55th Princess Kay , and says she plans to stay in the agriculture business after graduation.