HARRISBURG – Marissa Kay Weidensaul, of Mifflinburg, Union County, was crowned the 54th Pennsylvania Dairy Princess on Sept. 25 after a three-day competition among 31 county dairy princesses.
Weidensaul, 20, a SUN Area Dairy Princess, is the daughter of Percival and Beverly Weidensaul. She was crowned by outgoing Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Krystal Wasson of Centre County.
Contestants were judged on public speaking skills, knowledge of the dairy industry, poise and personality. Each contestant prepared a speech and skit promoting milk and dairy products, and participated in a personal interview with a panel of four judges.
Winners were chosen in three categories—speech, skit and scrapbook. Weidensaul was the runner-up in the speech division and honorable mention in the skit contest.
A sophomore at Penn State’s Altoona campus, Weidensaul is studying agriculture education and animal science and is secretary of the Agriculture Club. A graduate of Mifflinburg Area High School, she was an FFA member and officer and student government leader. She works on a commercial dairy goat farm, and raises and shows dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs and goats.
Two alternates were chosen to support the new princess. The first alternate is Jesse Lee Kline, 20, of Chambersburg, Franklin County. The daughter of Allen and Diane Kline, she is a graduate of Chambersburg Area Senior High School and completed one year at Penn State Mont Alto with plans to attend a dairy artificial insemination school. She is a five-year employee of Pleasant Valley Jerseys, a 4-H and FFA member, an accomplished dairy judge and owns seven Jersey cows.
Kline was crowned by outgoing first alternate Karla Stoltzfus of Bedford County.
Chosen as second alternate, Mercer County’s Elizabeth Weber is the 17-year-old daughter of Rick and Brenda Weber of Grove City. The family resides on Pleasant View Farm where they milk 90 Holsteins and farm 500 acres. Weber is a senior at Grove City High School where she is a varsity cheerleader and involved in many activities.
Weber was an honorable mention skit and speech winner, and was crowned by outgoing second alternate Crystal Hitz of Lebanon County.
In addition to Weidensaul, Kline and Weber, four other finalists were chosen:
• Samantha Johns, Berks County Dairy Princess, daughter of Mark and Debra Johns was an honorable mention scrapbook winner;
• Maria Jo Noble, Bradford County Dairy Princess, daughter of Stuart and Elaine Noble, was the skit winner and an honorable mention speech winner;
• Krista Hawn, Huntingdon County Dairy Princess, daughter of William and Lisa Hawn; and
• Sarah Wilson, Lawrence County Dairy Princess, daughter of David and Elizabeth Wilson.
Melissa DeHart of Butler County was the speech and scrapbook winner, and was voted “Miss Congeniality” by the other county princesses.
Runner-up skit winner was Justin McCarty of Sullivan County, and Laura Bowman of Lancaster County was an honorable mention skit winner.
Megan Ritchey of Bedford County was the runner-up in the scrapbook category, and honorable mention awards went to Starr Leonard of Cumberland County and Rebecca Harrop of Mifflin County.
Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Krystal Wasson was named the Tina M. Shultz Memorial Award winner. Along with her Centre County promotion team, she completed 629 promotions and traveled 3,052 miles within the county while also fulfilling her state duties. She is the daughter of Ron and Candace Wasson of State College.
The four overall judges were Gail Yeiser, Arnold, Md.; Betty Hunt, Lambertville, N.J.; Robert Moore, Harrington, Del.; and Dan Myer, Dayton, Va.
Speech judges were Nina Redding, Gettysburg, Adams County; Heidi Zimmerman, Newmanstown, Lebanon County; and Nicole Cassel, Harrisburg, Dauphin County. Scrapbook judges were Katie Mason, York, York County, and Linda Miller, Harrisburg, Dauphin County.
Kirk Sattazahn, of Myerstown, Lebanon County, served as master of ceremonies.
For the next year, the new state royalty team will represent Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and its 7,400 dairy farm families. The dairy industry is the state’s top agriculture industry, contributing $4.5 billion and 40,000 jobs to the state’s economy.