Dairy Princess is an Athmann family tradition

Staff Writer
Current and former Morrison County Dairy Princesses at a photo op at CHI St. Gabriel’s Hospital. Pictured are (from left): Current princess Kristen Athmann, Kylee Hoheisel, Lisa Smude, Tracy VanHercke and Kristen’s mother, Michelle Athmann.

When Kristen Athmann was younger, her uncle’s farm was a place to spend fun times with family, including her brother and cousins. Now, this dairy princess works on the farm helping to feed calves and do other chores, a statement that could have applied to another member of her family years ago.

Back when Michelle Athmann, Kristen’s mother, was a teenager, she also was named a Morrison County Dairy Princess.

“I absolutely love it,” Michelle said about the two sharing the distinction.

Kristen said the shared experience is nice as it allows her to have someone to ask questions about the program.

Michelle and Kristen are also in a similar boat when it comes to working on the farm.

Before Kristen’s uncle, Michelle’s brother, owned it, it belonged to the two siblings’ father’s farm and their grandfather’s before that.

Enjoying what was on the farm as a kid eventually led her to want to work on it, Kristen said.

“I really enjoyed everything the farm offered,” Kristen said. “I like being outside so that’s a big one for me.”

Getting into the Dairy Princess program was originally something Kristen was unsure whether or not she could do, as she doesn’t live on a farm.

With some encouragement from her mother and assurances from the Morrison County Dairy Association that she was qualified to run, Kristen decided to go for it.

Then came the night of the Dairy Princess coronation. Three princesses had already been chosen, including the two standing on either side of Kristen.

She felt the two 2016 princesses walk away from her and thought that was it.

“I thought, ‘Oh there it goes,’ and then all of a sudden they came back and put it on my head and I think my mouth dropped,” Kristen said. “I was shocked.”

Since then, Kristen has gotten to do the Dairy Princess staples from the Coborn’s cookout to Breakfast on the Farm, but one of her favorite events was an opportunity to meet previous Dairy Princesses and get their picture taken at CHI St. Gabriel’s Hospital.

“It was really cool,” Kristen said, talking about getting to talk to people who had at one point or another been in her shoes.

In addition to working on the farm and being a Dairy Princess, Kristen works at the Falls Ballroom and as a babysitter and is on the Morrison County Public Health Advisory Committee.

During the school year, Kristen was also president of the Key Club. She said community service appeals to her because it gives her a chance to meet and talk to new people, something her current role as princess also allows her to do.

With all the things she’s involved in, Kristen said the most challenging part of being a Dairy Princess is keeping your schedule together.

“You just have to keep a schedule and make sure you get to everything,” Kristen said.

This fall, Kristen will be going to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.

Until then, she and the other Morrison County Dairy Princesses will be at events throughout the county.