By MOLLIE RUSHMEYER, Correspondent
For 19-year-old Rebecca Schubert of Rice, making it to the top 12 finalists of the Princess Kay of the Milky Way was both a privilege and has changed the way she looks at her future.
“Before I became a part of this (Princess Kay), I wanted to go into nursing, and now I’m going into agricultural economics,” Schubert said.
In fact, her college courses started at North Dakota State University, Aug. 21. But with the help of some understanding professors and online work, she was able to take care of something else from Aug. 21- 23 — her final judging for the Princess Kay of the Milky Way in the Twin Cities.
Being one of the 12 finalists from all over the state of Minnesota is about much more than just waving in parades. Schubert said first and foremost, she had to work or live on a dairy farm to participate. Then she started by contacting the American Dairy Association and the Benton County Board, because Benton County hadn’t had a Dairy Princess in three to four years.
She and Alison Smelter, 17, of Sauk Rapids, were selected as the Dairy Princesses for Benton County. But to move to the next level, the Dairy Princess needed to be age 18 or older.
Schubert said there were two events this summer, in May and July, to get the finalists together and teach them about what their responsibilities would be if they won the Princess Kay title.
The final leg of the journey started Monday in the Twin Cities, when contestants settled in. On Tuesday, the judging began, entailing mock interviews, personal interviews and speeches. Schubert said this is where the judges were looking to see if the candidates were able to present the farm lifestyle in a positive light, how personable they were and how well they related to others. Then Wednesday, the coronation of Princess Kay of the Milky Way took place.
It was a lot to prepare for, but Schubert said she was ready and excited.
At Wednesday’s coronation, Emily Annexstad, 19, from St. Peter, representing Nicollet County won the title of Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
Although Schubert may not have won the title, she said she was thankful for the opportunity to be a Princess Kay finalist.
“Getting this far is such an honor. I was excited for everyone,” Schubert said. “All of them would fit the role really well.”
The crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way will spend the next year going to schools, farming events, churches, fairs and into the community to give speeches and educate people on dairy farming. And, yes, there will be some waving in parades as part of the job description as well.
Schubert noted that with the negative stereotypes out there about farmers and that lifestyle, the new Princess Kay has a chance to promote the industry with real, positive information about farming and its impact on everyday life — something Schubert knows quite a bit about.
Schubert has been employed on a dairy farm since the age of 15 and has experienced firsthand the hard work that goes into farming and its importance.
“Every piece of food you pick up has some agricultural element,” Schubert said. “I want to relate that to the kids and the older people, how important agriculture is to life.”
“I have so much community support. I feel very blessed to be able to be in a position where I get to share how amazing the dairy community is on a daily basis,” Schubert said. “The last few days that I have spent with the 11 other finalists have truly been a highlight of my summer. Thank you, Minnesota Dairy Farmers, for supporting the dairy princess program. It is such a unique opportunity. I wish the best of luck to Emily (Annexstad), the 64th Princess Kay of the Milky Way.”