A former Miss Milk Maid contestant from 1958 was present at the 58th Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Coronation. She participated in the content when she was a junior at Penn State. Like many of the former dairy princesses in attendance, she had a lot to say about talk about the old days. Everything was less back when she vied for the title of Miss Milk Maid — fewer contestants, fewer prizes, less money and fewer competitive aspects. These were girls, after all, and girls were expected to be secretaries, librarians or homemakers. Agriculture and marketing were not considered viable career paths for women.
Today’s contestants are exceptionally well-versed on social, political and financial issues involving farming and the ag marketplace. Cassandra Lynn Blickley, the 17-year-old Chester County Princess, was first to be asked a question while the other contestants, who would be asked the same question, were out of earshot. Emcee Kirk Sattazahn asked, “In the dairy industry, we are challenged to create accurate and positive perspectives with consumers. Please explain what consumers believe is the most critical issue facing the dairy industry today.”
…“I believe that the most critical issue that farmers face with American consumers nowadays is antibiotics in our milk,” she said. “Many consumers I know come to my farm and ask me ‘how do we take care of our milk to make sure there are no antibiotics?’ I know that by working on a dairy farm that if an animal is ever treated with an antibiotic, you make sure that the milk is separated from the bulk tank, and never goes anywhere near it. I show them where our treated milk goes, where we put it, and where our untreated milk goes. We educate them on the many steps the milk goes through to be tested before it even put in the milk truck.”
Others responded indicating their slant on varied issues.
“I can’t think of a better way to cap the All-American Dairy Show than with this event,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “This program promotes our state’s number one industry, and also develops a lifetime of agricultural promoters.”
Speaking of promoters, page 22 of the pageant program guide paid homage to Tina Shultz, for whom an award is named. According to the program guide, Shultz “was a member of the 1985-86 class of county dairy princesses. She did an outstanding job of promoting the dairy industry and its products under extremely difficult personal complications. Just three months before her county pageant, she lost her left leg to cancer and throughout her reign she battled the insidious disease. Except when she was hospitalized, Tina seldom missed an engagement or opportunity to promote.”
Tina passed away in May 1986, and her sister princesses established a fund for the award that has been honoring her inspiration ever since.
The program went on to explain that this award “is given annually to the Princess who has done the most effective job of serving her area as Dairy Princess.”
“We have two [such] young ladies who are here tonight,” PDPPS Northwest Director Roberta Dixon said. They were Madeline Daubert and Halee Wasson of Pine Grove, Schuylkill County and State College, Centre County, respectively. On being a Shultz Award winner, Daubert said she felt, “Beyond ecstatic. It was something that summed up my year and made me feel like what I did was for a purpose bigger than me. I’m so very honored that I got to do this. This award is very special.”
“Between these two girls,” Dixon said, “they did more than 13,000 promotions.” That averages out to about 25 per week, or sometimes two a day, more or less, per princess.
“Eighteen months ago,” Wasson began, “I was told that I was hearing impaired, after multiple surgeries. I had lost 50 percent of my hearing, and would need to wear hearing aids the rest of my life. At age 17, I was not ready to accept that. I did not want the words ‘disabled’ or ‘handicapped’ associated with my name as a senior in high school. I continued to be a dairy princess but never once did I let it get me down. Tina made me believe that I could promote no matter what the obstacle. I just needed a passion, and a love for our industry, to keep me driving.”
After an evening of fun, tears, seriousness and laughter, the outgoing dairy princess court bade their farewell. Lu-Anne Antisdel, Pennsylvania’s 2013-2014 Dairy Princess, took to the podium to recap. “It wasn’t until this very weekend that we realized that we were actually the Pennsylvania State Dairy Princesses.” After an appropriate stroll down Dairy Princess Lane, Danielle Varner and Brooke George, First and Second Alternates, waved warm goodbyes, and Princess Lu-Anne walked to the end of the runway to wave her final adieu. Just at that moment, the judges returned to hand an envelopes containing the names of the winning alternates and the 2014-2015 Pennsylvania Dairy Princess.
The Second Alternate was Rachael Sue Grosvenor of Susquehanna County. Carly Morgan Foose from Lancaster County was First Alternate. Pennsylvania’s new Dairy Princess was Ashley Renee Mohn of Berks County.