by CHRIS ROGERS
For Rollingstone native Megan Meyer, this was a dream come true: her face carved in butter. “Kind of a weird dream, but it was so cool,” she said. “Plus I get 90 pounds of butter to last me the rest of my life for my butter needs,” she joked.
Meyer, who grew up on her parent’s dairy farm, was named Winona County Dairy Princess at the county fair earlier this summer. Late last month, she traveled to the state fair, to compete with girls from across Minnesota for the honor of being named Princess Kay of the Milky Way and acting as an ambassador for Minnesota’s dairy farms. When the moment of truth came, Meyer was chosen as one of two runners-up — a podium finish in the statewide contest.
“They were calling the top three, and in my head I was just like, just be happy for the people who get top three, just be happy. I thought there was no way I would get that,” Meyer recalled. “And then when they called my name, it was every emotion: pride, excitement, joy, a little bit scared. But every single emotion was running through my mind and just how I feel about the dairy community and what it means to me.”
For Meyer, it was the culmination of a childhood dream and a way to represent and give back to the farming community that raised her. “I knew I would be a voice for the dairy community, so that was my main goal,” she said. Most farmers are focused on their land and their animals, and they don’t have a lot of opportunities to tell their stories, she said. Being a dairy princess gave Meyer a chance to be a public face for dairy farming. “I also believe there are a lot of myths about how dairy farming is done … I want to show people that dairy farming is sustainable and we do take care of our cows,” she explained.
Megan’s parents, John and Connie Meyer, were thrilled. Pointing out all of the interviews and public speaking Megan did at the state fair, Connie said, “To get that experience at age 18, going through that process, I think will be great for her in the future, and we’re super proud of her. She’s very passionate and committed to the dairy industry, and that makes us very proud.”
In keeping with the state fair tradition, Megan’s likeness was carved in butter on September 1. She had been looking forward to this part in particular. To capture her spirit in churned cream, Megan sat for the butter sculptor while he worked his magic. “You sit in a rotating cooler called the butter booth for like six to eight hours,” Megan explained, adding that she, of course, got some breaks in between. “He is so cool,” Megan said of the sculptor, Gerry Kulzer, who took over this year from longtime butter sculptor Linda Christensen. “We talked the entire time, just about everything under the sun. So that was a really neat experience for me, and he made my whole dream come true that I’ve had since I was a little girl.”