August 26, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.

Kuball crowned 70th Princess Kay

Rice County native is ready to educate

By AMY KYLLO | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
Staff Writer

Alex Middendorf/Dairy Star
Emma Kuball, of Rice County, is crowned the 70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way Aug. 23 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Makenzie Alberts (center), of Dodge County, and Megan Ratka, of Stearns County, were selected as runners-up.

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — Excitement matched the heat index the evening of Aug. 23 as the Minnesota dairy industry gathered to crown the 70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights.    
Little did Emma Kuball know, as she said from the stage that the cool temperature of the butter booth was going to feel like paradise, that the very next day she would be escaping the heat as the new Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
After being crowned the goodwill ambassador to the state’s dairy farm families, Kuball’s initial remarks were filled with gratitude.
“You have all made me who I am today, and you’re the reason that I’m up on this stage,” she said. “Thank you so much.”
Kuball is the daughter of dairy farmers Nate and Shannon Kuball of Waterville.

Emma Kuball
70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way


“It was just a dream come true,” Kuball said. “Right now, I’m just so grateful for all the amazing people I’ve been able to meet.”
Makenzie Alberts, representing Dodge County, and Megan Ratka, representing Stearns County, were runners-up.
Kuball is a sophomore studying agriculture education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. With her major, she recognizes how the school visits that are part of Princess Kay’s role will affect her.
“I’m really excited to see how my major and what I’m learning in school will pay off in the classroom visits that I do,” Kuball said. “Also, I can see how the classroom visits will pay off in my schoolwork because it’ll be a really cool meshing experience.”
Kuball’s goal as Princess Kay is education.
“I really hope to educate people about the importance of dairy farming — the importance of the dairy community, how dairy products really affect consumers’ health and how many amazing nutrients are in dairy products,” she said.
Kuball and her family milk 240 cows on their farm in Rice County. Kuball said she has learned integrity through the farm and that the animals need to be cared for regardless of the weather extremes of cold or heat.
“I really learned the value of hard work,” Kuball said. “It doesn’t matter how many things you have to do in a day, there’s always time to do the important things.”
Kuball’s father, Nate, was planning to bale hay on the days immediately following coronation. His plans changed.
Kuball’s mother, Shannon, said having her daughter honored is meaningful.

Alex Middendorf/Dairy Star
Judy Beaudry (front, from left), Marie Shovelain, Jim Shovelain, Isabella Stevens and Gianna Beaudry; (back, from left) Ben Anderson, Evan Beaudry, Ethan Beaudry, Leah Beaudry and Jeanne Fehn gather together Aug. 23 for the Princess Kay of the Milk Way coronation at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. The group wore T-shirts supporting Jalyssa Beaudry, a finalist representing Wright County.


“When you put your whole life into something like the dairy industry, to know that your daughter is going to be representing all of the hard-working people all across the state; I don’t even know if words could be there,” she said. Other honors included Gracie Ash, of Mille Lacs County, being appreciated by her fellow finalists with the title of Miss Congeniality.
This year, the scholarship winners were Alberts, Kuball and Ratka.
At the coronation, the first Princess Kay of the Milky Way Eleanor Maley Thatcher, who passed away since the last coronation, was honored.
To celebrate the Princess Kay program entering its seventh decade, all of the past Princess Kays in attendance were welcomed on stage in the order of their reigns.
Kuball will spend all 12 days at the Minnesota State Fair, representing the dairy community. Her first two days will include many hours spent in a 40-degree rotating glass cooler as she has her likeness sculpted into a 90-pound block of butter by Minnesota artist and butter sculptor Gerry Kulzer.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting the people who come into the butter booth,” Kuball said.
Throughout the fair, Princess Kay will be joined by the nine finalists, visiting with attendees in the Dairy Building, spending time at the Moo Booth, appearing in the daily parade and doing media interviews with television, radio and print.


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