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New dairy royalty introduced for Pennsylvania

Lu-Anne Antisdel of Bradford County was crowned Pennsylvania Dairy Princess on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel in Camp Hill. Seated in the middle, she is flanked by her alternates, Danielle Varner of Huntingdon County, left, and Brooke George of Mercer County. Behind them are Centre County Dairy Princess Halee Wasson, Franklin County Dairy Princess Kayla Hartung, Montgomery County Dairy Princess Erin Wismer and Bedford County Dairy Princess Mikayla Gates, all of them among the seven finalists.

Bradford County Dairy Princess Lu-Anne Antisdel
is First Lady of milk promotion

Harrisburg, Pa. -- Lu-Anne Antisdel of Rome, Bradford County, was crowned the 57th Pennsylvania Dairy Princess on Saturday, Sept. 21, after a three-day competition with 37 county dairy princesses.

Lu-Anne, the 18-year-old daughter of Mike Antisdel and Jeanne Hillman, was crowned by outgoing state princess Maria Jo Noble of Gillette, Bradford County. In winning the competition, Lu-Anne made history by giving her home county back-to-back state honors.

Contestants were judged on speaking skills, dairy industry knowledge and poise and personality. Each contestant prepared a speech, presentation, radio spot and poster display promoting milk and dairy products; submitted a scrapbook of promotion activities; took a dairy industry knowledge quiz; and participated in an interview with a panel of four judges.

Lu-Anne won the poster contest and received honorable mention in dairy industry knowledge and speech competition.

A recent graduate of Northeast Bradford High School, Lu-Anne plans to attend Slippery Rock University to study physical therapy. She was active in several school clubs and sports teams, currently serves as Bradford County FFA vice-president and volunteers with the Troy Fair. She enjoys showing cows and working on the family’s Antisdel Farm.

“Growing up on a dairy farm was something I truly enjoyed every part of, from getting to feed new-born baby calves to even riding along with my Dad on a tractor in the fields,” she wrote in an article that appeared in Farmshine on August 30th.

Two alternates were selected. First alternate is Danielle Varner of Shirleysburg, Huntingdon County, the 16-year-old daughter of Dean and Donna Varner. A junior at Mount Union High School, she is a National Honor Society member and vice-president of the Captain Jack FFA Chapter. She shows cattle from and works on the family’s Varner Dairy Farm, an Ayrshire and Holstein operation. She plans to attend Cornell University to study veterinary science.

Danielle, who received an honorable mention for her speech, was crowned by outgoing first alternate Callie Curley of Montrose, Susquehanna County.

Second alternate is Brooke George, 16, of Jackson Center, Mercer County. The daughter of John Jr. and Angie George of George’s Creekside Dairy, Brooke is a member of the school’s track team and several cheerleading squads. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania Junior Holstein Association, the Pennsylvania Junior Guernsey Breeders, Millbrook 4-H Dairy Club and Sandy Lake Presbyterian Church.

Brooke won the scrapbook contest and received an honorable mention for her radio spot. She was crowned by outgoing second alternate Heather Wasson of State College, Centre County.

In addition to Lu-Anne, Danielle and Brooke, four other finalists were chosen:

Mikayla Gates, Bedford County Dairy Princess, from Woodbury, the daughter of Duane and Tammy Gates, runner-up in the presentation competition and dairy knowledge competition and honorable mention in speech and scrapbook competition;
Halee Wasson, Centre County Dairy Princess, from State College, the daughter of Ronald and Candace Wasson, runner-up in the speech competition and honorable mention in dairy knowledge, poster and radio spot competition;

Kayla Hartung, Franklin County Dairy Princess, from Mercersburg, the daughter of Robert and Debbie Hartung; and

Erin Wismer, Montgomery County Dairy Princess, from Trappe, the daughter of Matthew Wismer, winner of both the speech and dairy knowledge competitions.

Cumberland County Dairy Princess Abbie Hamilton of Mechanicsburg was voted “Miss Congeniality” by the other county princesses.

Schuylkill County Dairy Princess Madeline Rae Daubert of Pine Grove was winner of the radio spot contest and honorable mention in the scrapbook competition.

Sullivan County Dairy Princess Seriana Nitcznski of Dushore won the new digital scrapbook contest.

Bucks County Dairy Princess Nicole Ender of Washington Crossing won the presentation competition and received honorable mentions in the dairy knowledge and poster contests.

Other category finalists were: Butler County Dairy Princess Miranda Lutz, Zelienople, runner up in poster and honorable mention in radio spot competition; Cambria County Princess Dawn Craft, Mineral Point, runner up in radio spot and honorable mention in presentation competition; Somerset County Dairy Princess Alyssa Weigle, Berlin, honorable mention in scrapbook competition; Warren County Dairy Princess Rachel Campbell, Russell, honorable mention in presentation competition; and Washington County Dairy Princess Emily Rush, Avella, honorable mention in poster and presentation competition.

Outgoing state princess Maria Jo Noble was honored with the Tina M. Shultz Award. The award recognizes the princess who has done the most effective job of serving her area as dairy princess. Along with her Bradford County team, she engaged 52,000 consumers across the county, logging 372 school promotions, 119 media opportunities, 73 store and mall promotions, 34 non-dairy presentations, 26 news articles and 18 dairy meetings. Her parents are Stuart and Elaine Noble.

Maria Jo also received the new William C. Nichol Appreciation Award and $1000 scholarship, which is awarded to the state dairy princess in recognition of her dairy promotion efforts throughout the year.

The pageant also featured a tribute to Jan Harding Ruslavage, the first hired director of Pennsylvania Dairy Princess and Promotion Services, Inc., a position she held for 17 years. After stepping back from that role, she transitioned into service as a member of its board of directors. Later, she was nominated to office of co-chairperson, which she has held for the past 11 years.

This year, Jan is retiring from that position, part of a three-decade career in dairy promotion. She was recognized for her years of service coordinating promotional events, mentoring dairy royalty and working with others in the dairy industry.

The four overall contest judges were Janet Archer, Pylesville, Md.; Kiera Finucane, Bowie, Md.; Dan Myers, Harrisonburg, Va.; and Chuck Worden, Cassville, N.Y.

Scrapbook and radio spot judges were Penny Brammer, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, and Julie Flinchbaugh of York, York County. Presentation and poster display judges were Morgan Firestine, Womelsdorf, Berks County; Marilyn Hershey, Cochranville, Chester County; and Aaron Horst, Hershey, Dauphin County. Dairy knowledge quiz administrator was Emily Yeiser, Harrisburg, Dauphin County.

Kirk Sattazahn of Womelsdorf, Berks County, served as master of ceremonies.

For the next year, the new state royalty team will represent Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and its 7200 dairy farm families. The dairy industry is the state’s top agriculture industry, contributing nearly $6 billion to the economy and supporting more than 60,000 jobs across the state.

Former Pennsylvania Holstein Association executive director Bill Nichol and his wife, Lilly, are pictured with outgoing Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Mario Jo Noble who was awarded the inaugural William C. Nichol Appreciation Award in recognition for her outstanding work this past year promoting the state’s dairy industry, milk and dairy products. The award consisted of a glass trophy and a $1000 check. The presentation took place during the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Pageant held at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel in Camp Hill on Saturday, Sept. 21.