By Elizabeth Sias
Amy Anderson has been raising chickens and turkeys since she was a kid.
The 16-year-old from Cambridge recently put her knowledge to the test and on Sunday, Aug. 28, was named the 2011 Poultry Princess at the Minnesota State Fair.
She and Poultry Prince Brandon Severns, of Blue Earth County, were honored with feathery capes, crowns and a $1,000 scholarship from Gold’n Plump.
“I never thought it would happen. I thought I’d get second or third and I’d try again next year,” Anderson said. “It was an amazing feeling, and it’s an honor to represent the kids in Minnesota 4-H poultry.”
She’s just completing her seventh year in 4-H, and this was her fourth time making it to the State Fair with her 4-H project, which this year were breeding turkeys.
Anderson started raising poultry when she was little after she told her parents she wanted to get involved in 4-H. The family bought some chickens, and since then, their small hobby farm has grown to include chickens, turkeys, rabbits and goats.
To be crowned Poultry Prince or Princess, the contestants went through three rounds of competition.
Severns and Anderson beat out many other male and female teenagers to become the second annual poultry royalty of Minnesota. Poultry Prince finalists were August Otto, of Delano in Wright County, and Quinn Jaeger, of Red Wing in Goodhue County. Kristina Allen, of Rochester in Olmsted County, and Mary Boyle, of Otsego in Wright County, also competed for the Poultry Princess title in the final round.
The winners were contestants in the final round and coronation ceremony Aug. 28 after ranking highly in the Poultry Showmanship competition Aug. 25 and the Chicken BBQ contest Aug. 27.
The finals required all six contestants to showcase their poultry knowledge and stage presence with questions like ‘How often do most hens lay eggs?’ and ‘What goes into preparing your chickens to be shown at the State Fair?’
The competition was open to Minnesota State Fair 4-H participants who had completed ninth grade or higher. Last year’s winners, John DeBuhr and Alysha Thielen, were in attendance to pass on the festively feathered royal garb traditionally worn by the Poultry Prince and Princess winners.
In addition to serving as poultry ambassadors for the upcoming year, Anderson and Severns will receive $1,000 academic scholarships and royal portraits painted by the State Fair’s official artist Steve Thomas. Minnesota 4-H and Gold’n Plump teamed up to sponsor the second annual Poultry Prince and Princess Contest to recognize the knowledge, leadership and skills of Minnesota’s youth in the poultry industry.
Anderson plans on saving her scholarship for college. She wants to attend the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities to become a large animal veterinarian who specializes in poultry.
She thanked Gold’n Plump and 4-H for sponsoring the event and giving her the opportunity.
“I really like meeting the kids I’m competing against in the 4-H part of it, and I like showing how much fun you can have and teaching the younger kids,” she said. “I love the experience of raising poultry, it’s just a lot of fun.”