MINNEAPOLIS — Nathan Vonderharr, a 17-year-old native of Cedar representing Isanti County, and 16-year-old Katie Benson of Staples, representing Wadena County, were granted a Gold’n opportunity on Sunday, Aug. 30, when they were crowned as the sixth-annual Poultry Prince and Princess.
The scholarship program of Minnesota 4-H and Gold’n Plump® recognizes the industry knowledge, leadership and skills of Minnesota’s up-and-coming poultry expertsby awarding two teenagers with poultry ambassador titles and $1,000 academic scholarships.
From Aug. 27 through 30, 2015, eligible Minnesota State Fair 4-H poultry participants competed in the contest at the state fairgrounds. Nathan and Katie stood out among many skilled applicants, claiming the titles after ranking highly in the qualifying rounds of the 4-H Poultry Interview, Quiz and Showmanship competition; the 4-H Chicken BBQ Contest; and the Q&A and Stage Presence final round. Runners up included:
- Andrew Gathje of Stewartville in Fillmore County
- Jacob Tesch of Mayer in Carver County
- Mariah Huberty of Harris in Chisago County
- Tiana Lenzmeier of North Branch in Isanti County
“For six years, the Poultry Prince and Princess scholarship program has been a special component of the Minnesota State Fair, and we were excited to see the program continue to thrive this year,” said Rory Bidinger, brand advocacy and marketing manager for GNP Co., the company behind the Gold’n Plump brand. “The contest not only gives 4-H youth the opportunity to showcase their talents among peers, but it also allows millions of fairgoers to engage in a unique educational experience. The poultry industry is a fundamental piece of Minnesota’s economy, and the State Fair is an ideal place to bring the community together and foster support.”
Sunday’s finals required the top six contestants to showcase their poultry knowledge with strong stage presence and personality, answering questions such as “What ingredients are necessary to ensure your chickens have healthy diets?” and “What are two skills you’ve developed from your experience in 4-H that you are most proud of?” Last year’s winners, Tyler Amick and Hayley Carlson, 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 created by the official State Fair artist, Adam Turman. They also had the chance to participate in the State Fair parade on Sunday.
“4-H is dedicated to providing the training, education and tools for youth to emerge as Minnesota’s future leaders,” said Brad Rugg, director of 4-H Fairs and Animal Science Programs, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development. “The Poultry Prince and Princess scholarship program is a wonderful way for youth to develop leadership skills while exchanging valuable knowledge.”