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Poultry royalty prepare to hand over their crowns

By Janet Kubat Willette
jkubat@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 08/30/2013 1:00 PM

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Minnesota poultry royalty August Otto and Eleni Solberg will hand off their crowns and capes on Aug. 25.

Otto and Solberg were crowned Minnesota's Poultry Prince and Princess at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair.

During their yearlong tenure, the duo participated in the Minnesota State Fair parade and three other parades around the state. Solberg visited a second grade classroom at Stewartville and worked at a booth at a Chatfield ag fair. They both gave a presentation at the Olmsted County Fair. They were featured on Fox9 News, where they talked about barbecuing and barbecued chicken for a live segment.

Both learned and developed skills during the past year.

"I know that I learned a lot about public speaking," said Otto, 17, of Delano.

A self-described "decent" public speaker before being crowned, Otto said now it is easy for him to talk about things he's passionate about.

Solberg said she was shy talking about poultry before being crowned. She was reluctant to compete for Poultry Princess, but the encouragement of others convinced her to try.

Her family's farm has chickens, ducks and goats.

Otto's family has geese, ducks, pigeons, hobby birds and market chickens.

Being Poultry Princess helped Solberg, 17, decide on a career path. The Stewartville High School senior is looking at college in Arkansas to study poultry science. Only six colleges in the nation offer the degree, she said.

Otto said he probably won't be involved in the poultry industry after graduation. The Delano High School senior would like to be a veterinarian. He's not sure if he'll focus on farm animals, small animals or zoo animals.

Both will bring 4-H projects to the state fair. Otto will bring a pair of Cornish cross market chickens. Solberg will bring a trio of Columbian Wyandotte Bantams. She'll have two poults and one cockerel.

The fourth-annual Poultry Prince and Princess Contest will be held from Aug. 22 through Aug. 25 at the Minnesota State Fair.

The scholarship program of Minnesota 4-H and Gold'n Plump will recognize the knowledge, leadership and skills of the state's top poultry youth by awarding two teenagers poultry ambassador titles and $1,000 academic scholarships.

WCCO-TV reporter John Lauritsen will once again host the live event at the State Fair's Sheep and Poultry Barn at noon on Aug. 25.

Contestants must compete in the 4-H poultry interview/quiz/showmanship competition, 4-H chicken barbecue contest, and have completed ninth grade by the start of the 2013 Minnesota State Fair for a chance at the titles.

The top three female and top three male contestants from showmanship and the barbecue contest will answer four category-specific poultry questions at a final round during the Q&A portion of the event, prior to the coronation ceremony.

The 2013 winners will begin their roles as poultry ambassadors immediately following coronation with an appearance in the Minnesota State Fair parade on the Minnesota 4-H car.

Online applications must be completed by 10 a.m. on Aug. 23 at http://z.umn.edu/4hpoultryprinceprincess.