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Beltrami County elects Junior Dairy Princess

Amy Cloose, 16, of Solway, was crowned Beltrami County Junior Dairy Princess on Sunday.

"This has been a dream of mine since I was little," Amy said.

The last time the Beltrami County Dairy Association elected a Dairy Princess was in 1998, when Bonnie Miller and Stacey Neft represented the industry. Miller won the regional title, as well, and was honored at the Minnesota State Fair with a Butterhead.

Amy said she plans to compete for the regional title and state Princess Kay of the Milky Way title when she is eligible at age 18.

Requirements for Dairy Princess include being a dairy farm owner, family member or employee and being an accomplished public speaker to represent and promote the industry.

"Then you can get to be a Butterhead," she said.

She said she will begin her work as a dairy ambassador during events scheduled for June Dairy Month.

Amy said she can't remember a time when she wasn't helping milk cows on her family's farm, Blackstar Dairy in rural Solway. The family replaced an old tie-stall barn nine years ago with a free stall barn, and in 2000, they built a processing plant for Blackstar milk and yogurt.

Amy also has been showing registered Holsteins since she was 3 years old. She decided she wanted to be a Dairy Princess when she saw the Dairy Princess of that year awarding the trophies.

Her first show cow was Cherry. "Once, she got away from me in the show ring; that's why I remember her," Amy said. This year, she will be showing Devine, her sister Destiny, and daughter, Daisy, as well as her own cow, Jamie.

She said each of the five Cloose children receive a cow as a 12th-birthday present and then own the calves. Jamie has given Amy a heifer calf. "I named her Juliette," Amy said of the "small herd of my own."

Amy's off-the-farm interests include playing piano for 10 years, dance line at Bagley High School, school choir, church youth group, 4-H and Minnesota Junior Holstein Association. She is also a deer hunter and enjoys driving tractor, even when she's spreading manure.

"It's relaxing," she said.

Although Beltrami County has had a gap in Dairy Princess representation during the last eight years, that shouldn't be the case for the next decade. Amy's sister, Amber, is 14, and looks forward to her opportunity to wear the tiara. And three daughters in the Barton Fast family are also growing up in the dairy business. Shelby Fast is 12, Amber is 11 and Ashley is 7.