August Otto, a 16-year-old from Delano in Wright County, and Eleni Solberg, a 16-year-old from Stewartville in Fillmore County, were given the royal chicken treatment after winning the third-annual Poultry Prince and Princess Contest held at the Minnesota State Fair.
The two were awarded scholarships by the Minnesota 4-H and Gold'n Plump. The program recognizes the knowledge, leadership and skills of Minnesota's youth in the state's poultry industry by awarding two teenagers with poultry ambassador titles and $1,000 academic scholarships.
The Poultry Prince and Princess Contest took place August 23 through 26 for eligible Minnesota State Fair 4-H poultry participants. Otto and Solberg stood out among the dozen contestants to take seats on the poultry royalty court after ranking highly in a poultry showmanship competition, chicken BBQ contest, and final round Q&A. Runners up included:
-Alex Oelke, 16, of Otsego for Sherburne County
-Quinn Jaeger, 18, of Red Wing in Goodhue County
-Mary Sarah Sauber, 16, of Motley in Cass County
-Mary Boyle, 16, of Otsego in Wright County
The finale required the top six contestants to showcase their poultry knowledge, confidence and personality by answering questions such as, 'How often do most hens lay eggs?' and 'What goes into preparing your chickens to be shown at the State Fair?'
Last year's winners, Brandon Severns, of Good Thunder in Blue Earth County, and Amy Anderson, of Cambridge in Isanti County, were in attendance to pass on the festively feathered royal garb. Along with $1,000 scholarships, the Poultry Prince and Princess will have the opportunity to expand their speaking, interview and presentation skills through industry and publicity appearances during their year-long term and will receive royal portraits rendered by the official State Fair artist, Joe Heffron.
"Our hope is to continue a fantastic tradition that shines light on the vitality of our state's poultry industry and supports agricultural education." said Rory Bidinger, brand advocacy and marketing manager for GNP Company, the company behind the Gold'n Plump brand.
"It's important that we create opportunities for young adults to lead and learn in our local communities," said Brad Rugg, director of 4-H Fairs and Animal Science Programs, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development.
GNP Company is a family-owned provider of premium chicken products to retail, deli and foodservice customers throughout the Midwest and in other parts of the country, sold under the Gold'n Plump and Just BARE brands. The company officially changed its name from Gold'n Plump Poultry to GNP Company in 2011 to better distinguish between the company and its brands. It employs about 1,600 people and partners with nearly 350 family farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin to produce wholesome, high-quality chicken. For more information about the company, visit gnpcompany.com
For more information about 4-H, please visit extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-H