Christine Reitsma is Princess Kay
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 09/20/2012 9:39 AM
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — Minnesota's largest dairy county has its first Princess Kay.
"I'm very excited, it took 59 years, but it finally happened," said 18-year-old Christine Reitsma of Sauk Centre, the 59th Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
Stearns County's Reitsma was crowned Princess Kay on the eve of the Minnesota State Fair. The ceremony was Aug. 22 at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell.
This was Reitsma's first year running as a county dairy princess and her first time ever to experience coronation. The ceremony was well thought out … perfect, Reitsma said the next morning as she posed in the rotating butter cooler while Linda Christensen used clay carving tools to carve her likeness into a 90-pound block of butter.
Reitsma posed in a jacket, snow pants and mittens. The finalists share the snow pants and mittens as each has her day in the cooler. The jackets are theirs to keep, a gift from the state's dairy farmers, she said.
Posing in the cooler for six to eight hours was one of her first duties after getting just a few hours sleep. Her first day as Princess Kay was also filled with media interviews, participation in the grand opening and dedication of the AgStar Arena and riding in the daily fair parade.
It's an incredible honor to be Princess Kay, Reitsma said. She's eager to carry a dairy message to classrooms, seminars and other events throughout the state in the coming year.
Reitsma climbed into bed around 1 a.m. following coronation and was back at the fairgrounds at 5 a.m. for the traditional opening day meet-and-greet.
She is the third child of six. She has two older sisters, one younger sister and two younger brothers. Her parents are Paul and Carolyn. The whole family came to coronation, but had to return home for chores following the ceremony.
The family milks 105 Holsteins. Reitsma's chore was feeding calves, which she will miss when she starts at the University of Minnesota just after Labor Day. She will study applied economics at the Twin Cities campus.
Reitsma was crowned March 20. Stearns County had two finalists this year, Reitsma and Kirsten Meier of Watkins.
The two went to summer Princess Kay events, including a tour of the AMPI plant in New Ulm where they met the man who made their blocks of butter.
"We learned all about where our butter came from," Reitsma said.
She plans to melt her butterhead down next summer at a corn feed to thank the many Stearns County dairy farmers who have supported her and the Princess Kay program through the years. She's still thinking about how best to use the scraps of butter that Christensen stuck into five-gallon-buckets as she worked in the cooler.