August 12, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.
A never-ending role
It’s crazy what can happen in a year – what dreams can come true, the opportunities that come your way, and the people you meet.
This year as the 69th Princess Kay of the Milky Way has been nothing shy of amazing. I can still remember the little girl on top of the hay rack stacked with small square bales waving like Princess Kay as the tractor pulled the wagon down the windrows. What a dream I had.
It seems like yesterday I was crowned the 69th Princess Kay and spent the best 12 days of the year at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, visiting with fairgoers around the Dairy Building, Moo Booth, All You Can Drink Milk Stand, and up and down the streets of the fair. What a special time it was to share the goodness of dairy throughout my reign.
In a couple short weeks, we will be back at the state fairgrounds to pass on the crown to the 70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way. For seven decades, Princess Kay has made history and created a tradition not only at the state fair but across Minnesota and around the world. Along my travels this year, I continued this honor and legacy of being the goodwill ambassador for our Minnesota dairy farmers, and I look forward to watching the future Princess Kay also do the same.
As my journey as Princess Kay comes to an end, I am grateful for the miles traveled, events attended and connections made. With over 8,900 miles traveled and 90 appearances, there have been so many wonderful experiences representing our dairy farmers.
From the classroom visits – with the awe of students meeting a real-life princess and their curiosity of learning and exploring dairy – to breakfasts on the farm, days on the dairy, media interviews, nursing home visits, Fuel up to Play 60 events and a variety of so many other appearances, this year has been amazing.
I have loved every opportunity to share about the importance of dairy across the state. This year has been more than sharing about dairy. It has also been about the people. After every event, I came home just wanting to talk about the smiles made, the stories told, the hugs, the waves and the laughter I encountered. There was always so much to say as each appearance fueled my soul. Every event brought me so much joy and appreciation from my role as Princess Kay. Sometimes I learned just as much from the people I met as what they learned from me.
Words cannot describe how thankful I am for all of our dairy farmers. I appreciate the long days and short nights, the activities missed for farm work, for problem solving and working together to responsibly produce dairy foods, and for raising families grounded in the tradition of dairy farming. From our dairy farmers, to milk haulers, dairy processors and everyone in between, it takes the whole team to make the dairy community flourish.
Thank you for letting me share your stories of dedication, teamwork, kindness, innovation and family. These stories built me, made me who I am and have encouraged me to chase my dreams. I have made so many memories from my time in the crown and sash that I will carry with me. Thank you for supporting me and following along throughout the year I will cherish forever. I will always call the dairy community my home, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart. Although my journey as Princess Kay will conclude, my love for the dairy community and desire to continue to be a dairy advocate will never end.
Princess Kay of the Milky Way Rachel Rynda serves as the Minnesota dairy community’s goodwill ambassador. Rynda grew up in Montgomery, Minnesota, on her family’s dairy farm. She attends University of Wisconsin-River Falls, studying agriculture business with a minor in dairy science, with plans to assist farmers with their finances. She enjoys participating in sports and singing in church with her dad.
Princess Kay is active doing school visits, representing dairy farmers at the Fuel Up To Play 60 activities in conjunction with the Minnesota Vikings and sharing the importance of dairy farming and dairy foods at appearances across Minnesota.
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