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Mid County Congratulates Jeni Haler of Norwood Young America the Princess Kay of the Milky Way

Carver County Dairy Princess Jeni Haler of Norwood Young America, the daughter of Rick Haler and Connie Helget Haasken, was crowned the 61st Princess Kay of the Milky Way in an evening ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Wednesday.2014PrincessKayJeniHalerPortrait“It was a complete shock for me,” Jeni said the day after she was crowned. “It was so wonderful – such a thrill.”

Jeni, 19, is the third dairy princess from Carver County to receive the Princess Kay title. The first was Janet (Forner) Bosch in 1982, and the second was Beth Messenbring-Mastre in 1990.

Three of Jeni’s family members were contestants for Princess Kay in the past. Her mother, Connie, was a finalist in 1987, her sister Chaneen in 2011, and her sister Victoria in 2012.

As Princess Kay, Jeni will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for more than 3,600 Minnesota dairy farm families.

“Minnesota dairy farmers really make my job easy,” Jeni said. “They work hard, and their passion shows through in everything they do.”

Jeni currently attends the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, where she double majors in animal science and Spanish/Portuguese studies.

“I aspire to go into the international dairy industry,” she said.

Haler was one of 12 county dairy princess finalists selected to compete for the Princess Kay of the Milky Way title.

Audrey Lane of Prior Lake, representing Scott County, and Sabrina Ley of Belgrade, representing Stearns County, were selected as runners-up.

Gabriella Sorg of Hastings, representing Dakota County, was named Miss Congeniality.

Scholarships were awarded to Annie Culbertson of Pine Island, representing Olmsted County; Sarah Post of Chandler, representing Murray County; and Audrey Lane of Prior Lake, representing Scott County.

Haler’s first official duty as Princess Kay was to sit in a rotating cooler in the Dairy Building for nearly six hours to have her likeness sculpted in a 90-pound block of butter on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair.

2014PrincessKayCrowningEach finalist will also have her likeness carved in butter during the fair. This year marks butter sculptor Linda Christensen’s 43rd year carving the Princess Kay of the Milky Way winner and finalists at the Minnesota State Fair.

Throughout her year-long reign as Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Haler will make public appearances to help connect consumers to Minnesota’s dairy farm families. She will also promote the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, through which she encourages students to get 60 minutes of exercise each day and eat a healthy diet that includes three servings of dairy.

“Serving as Princess Kay is an opportunity to reach out to those who didn’t grow up in a dairy background,” Jeni said. “It’s one of those humbling experiences that one girl gets every year. I feel blessed and honored to be able to share my story with as many people as possible.”

Princess Kay candidates are judged on their general knowledge of the dairy industry, communication skills, and enthusiasm for dairy.

The Midwest Dairy Association sponsors the Princess Kay program, which is funded by check-off dollars from dairy farmers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma.