Royalty on campus

SARA BERTSCH Editor-in-Chief

An SDSU student was crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way at Minnesota State Fair

For seven hours, Kyla Mauk sat in a large, rotating cooler set at 40 degrees while a sculptor carved her face into a 90-pound block of butter.

The “butterheads,” as she describes it, is an annual tradition at the Minnesota State Fair.

This was the very first thing Mauk did after being crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way. The Midwest Dairy Association sponsors the Princess Kay program, which is funded by dairy farmers through their promotion checkoff.

And now Mauk is a part of that tradition.

“I remember going to the state fair when I was really little and showing cattle and seeing the ‘butterheads,’ and it’s always been my goal to be a finalist for sure, but to be Princess Kay is definitely a dream come true for me,” she said.

Mauk, 19, was born and raised in Howard Lake, Minn. on a dairy farm that has been with the family for five generations. She is currently a sophomore studying agricultural education at South Dakota State University.

This was the 62nd year of the Princess Kay competition. The 12 dairy princess finalists all had their personalities carved into butter, one for each day of the fair.

“We were all so excited,” Mauk said. “It’s a long tradition and we are all so happy that we got to do that.”

And now after being crowned, Mauk has the entire year to uphold the tradition. She will be advocating for Minnesota dairy farm families and sharing “the good word to the dairy community.”

She will do this with classroom visits at schools, speaking at local events and other events the association lines up for her.

Mauk will be a full time student at SDSU as well, doing the “princess stuff” on the weekends and trying to not miss classes.

“I definitely couldn’t see myself at any other school than SDSU, especially since our school has a strong agriculture and dairy community. It’s really nice to be involved with both of them,” she said.

While Mauk focuses on being the best princess she can be, she also has to worry about what to do with all of the butter.

In addition to the 90-pound sculpture of herself, her family was given the scraps from her butter sculpture – two five-gallon buckets full.

Other girls have given back to their communities with their butter sculptures by hosting pancake breakfasts or corn feeds.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with mine yet. I know that I’m going to give back in some way shape or form. Most likely with my FFA chapter, but I don’t know for sure yet.”

So, for now, the Kyla Mauk butter look-alike sits in a freezer at home.