Recently the Chautauqua County dairy community passed their promotional torch yet again, as 2015-2016 Chautauqua County Dairy Princess, Madison Woodis, of Dewittville, NY crowned a new Dairy Princess, Joyce Wiltsie of Frewsburg, NY. This event was held at the Bemus Point United Methodist Church, and was attended by a small crowd of the local dairy industry’s distinguished representatives. The Chautauqua County Dairy Princess Pageant is an annual event, held in conjunction with the national June Dairy Month celebrations.
Joyce is the 16-year-old daughter of Randy and Jill Wiltsie of Frewsburg. Her family lease cattle from William Kane, and their milk ships through Dean Foods. Joyce is an honor student and coaches award recipient at Frewsburg Central School, where she also participates in Leo Club, track, cross country and basketball. She is active in the Frewsburg Hayseeds 4-H club and a member of the Junior Holstein Club.
Guests enjoyed a buffet dinner, catered by Debbie Stearns of Classic Occasions. As outgoing princess, Madison spoke on her experiences in the past year. As the incumbent princess, Joyce followed with a speech promoting consumption of dairy products as part of a healthy diet. Members of the ambassador court served cake just before the coronation ceremony.
Having served since she was five years old, Joyce may be the most experienced ambassador ever to be crowned princess. She follows in the footsteps of her sister, Roxanne Wiltsie Kelly, who served as the 2005 Chautauqua County Dairy Princess. Joyce’s year is already off to an active start. “I am looking forward to the Chautauqua County Fair and getting more people interested in becoming princess,” Joyce shared. “We are a fun group and are excited to promote dairy in the future and we always try to get more people to join our (ambassador) group.”
The efforts of the committee to grow the ambassador court have been largely successful. Last year, the group claimed 12 ambassadors, and was informed they may be the largest group in New York State. This year, the court boasts 16 ambassadors, ranging in age from six to 14.
Jasmine, Jessica and Jocelyn Estabrook are the daughters of Jim and Jennifer Estabrook of Frewsburg. Their family owns and operates J-High Acres. Autumn Gregory is the daughter of David and Heather Gregory of Forestville. They live next door to their family’s farm, Halocrest Holsteins. Ashley Haskins is the daughter of Jodi Rice, and the granddaughter of Lewis and Myrna Rice. They own and operate a Holstein dairy farm in Ellington. Tesika Kilmer is the daughter of RoJan Kilmer and Andrew Ostrom of Kennedy, and Aaron Kilmer of Orchard Park. She owns registered Brown Swiss dairy cattle that she shows at the Delaware County Fair. Katelyn Miller is the daughter of Jeff and Jennifer Miller of Cherry Creek. She and her brother, Andrew, are integral to the daily operations of their family’s farm. LynnDee Nagel is the daughter of Gwen and Jason Nagel. Her family has Jerseys, Holsteins, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorns and Dutch Belted dairy cattle. Miranda Nickerson is the daughter of Bart and Julie Nickerson, of Corry, PA. She is sponsored to the Chautauqua County program by Nickerson Farms of Clymer and Reliance Dairy of Sherman. Sadie Steward is the daughter of Ken and Lori Steward. Their family owns and operates a dairy farm in Kennedy. Leighanne Swan is the daughter of Jason and Jamie Swan. Leighanne is partial to Linebacks, especially her red and white one named “Applejack.” Erma Jean Wolcott is the daughter of Greg and Kathy Wolcott of Mayville. She lives on a dairy farm and started showing Holsteins and Jerseys as a Cloverbud. Ella Woodis is the daughter of Chris Woodis and Erin Allard of Mayville. She loves spending time with her cousins at their dairy farm. Evangeline, Lily and Sophia are the daughters of Michael and Heather Woodis of Dewittville. They are active participants in their family’s dairy farm.
Though the present court is large, the program is in search of new members, according to Heather Gregory, current committee chairperson. “Every year since 1963, Chautauqua County has been home to an active dairy princess. It is our sincere hope that 2017 is not the year that breaks this proud tradition. Our princess must be between 16 and 24 years of age and have a connection to, or sponsorship of a member of the dairy industry. Presently, we do not have any 15-year-old ambassadors on the court.” Heather says the search is on! “We hope to hear from anyone who can suggest possible princess candidates for next year. This program supports the dairy industry and also provides a unique opportunity for industry youth to grow their communications and public relations skills.”
This year’s princess already knows growing her skills is vital, as she stresses the importance of her message to get three servings of dairy every day. “My sister’s a teacher and she always talks about how kids who don’t drink milk have weaker bones,” Joyce explained.” Kids especially need dairy “to build strong bones and teeth and if they ever break a bone, the healing process is faster.”
The Chautauqua County Dairy Princess Program is made possible through the support of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council: the local planning and management organization funded by dairy farmer check-off dollars. Those interested in having the princess and her court participate in a community event to help promote dairy may call Heather Woodis, Booking Chairperson, at 716-753-2112.