Yvonne Longenecker of Williamsburg, Blair County, will represent the state’s dairy industry at events across the state for the next year as its 61st Pennsylvania Dairy Princess.
Her coronation on Saturday, September 23, concluded a three-day competition with 26 other county dairy princesses. Yvonne, the 17-year-old daughter of Douglass and Yvette Longenecker, was crowned by outgoing state princess Halee Wasson of State College, Centre County.
Contestants were judged on public speaking, dairy industry knowledge, poise and personality. Each contestant prepared a speech, presentation, radio spot, poster display, and recipe promoting milk and dairy products; submitted a scrapbook of promotion activities; took a quiz on dairy promotion knowledge; and interviewed with a panel of four judges.
Yvonne won the poster display contest and was named runner up in the presentation and speech competitions.
A junior at Central High School in Martinsburg, Blair County, Yvonne is secretary of the Central Cove FFA Chapter, vice president of the National Honor Society, and a member of the tennis team. In addition to serving in leadership roles with her local 4-H lamb, beef and dairy clubs, Yvonne has been named Outstanding Blair County 4-H Member for the past three years and has also received the Teen Leader Award. She attends Martinsburg Grace Brethren Church and its Synergy Youth Group. Yvonne hopes to attend the Pennsylvania State University to pursue agricultural sciences.
Two alternates also were selected during the evening festivities. First alternate is Centre County Dairy Princess Gretchen Little. The 16-year-old daughter of Kris and Karen Little, she lives on her family’s first-generation dairy farm outside Bellefonte, Centre County. As a junior at Bellefonte Area High School achieving high honors, she is vice president of the Bellefonte FFA Chapter who has earned her Greenhand and Chapter degrees, is a student advisor for the school’s sustainable gardening project, and is active in other clubs. She Is president of the Mount Nittany Dairy and Marion Walker 4-H clubs.
Gretchen won the scrapbook contest and took honorable mention with her royal recipe, radio spot and speech. She was crowned by outgoing first alternate Brittany Haag of Mohrsville, Berks County.
Second alternate is Chester County Princess Casandra Blickley, 20, of Elverson, Chester County. The daughter of Shawn and Roslyn Blickley, Casandra is a junior at Delaware Valley University majoring in large animal science with a minor in dairy sciences. In addition to membership in the university’s Dairy Society and participation in the Dairy Challenge and Northeast Student Affiliate program, Casandra is herdsman at Kurtland robotic dairy farm in Elverson, Chester County. She hopes to pursue a career in the dairy genetics field.
Casandra won the dairy promotion knowledge competition and presentation awards, was runner-up in the poster display, and received honorable mention for her radio spot and scrapbook. She was crowned by outgoing second alternate Katie Anderson of Three Springs, Huntingdon County.
In addition to Yvonne, Gretchen and Casandra, the four other selected finalists were:
- Twenty-year-old Taylor Pool, Berks County Dairy Princess, from Robesonia, who was runner up in the scrapbook competition and took honorable mentions in the dairy promotion knowledge and presentation competitions. Her parents are David and Martha Pool.
- Seventeen-year-old Jenna Harnish, Bradford County Dairy Princess, from Ulster, who won the speech competition and secured honorable mentions in the poster and radio spot competitions. Her parents are Eric Harnish and Michelle and Lynn Hottle.
- Seventeen-year-old Katrina Bliss, Huntingdon County Dairy Princess, from Huntingdon, who took runner-up honors in the dairy promotion knowledge contest. Her parents are Timothy and Jacquita Bliss.
- Nineteen-year-old Mary Wurzbach, York County Dairy Princess, from Brogue, who won the radio spot competition and took honorable mention in the dairy promotion knowledge contest. Her parents are Richard and Melissa Wurzbach.
Lebanon County Dairy Princess Millena Bashore, 16, of Annville, was voted Miss Congeniality by the other county princesses. She received the honor in memory of Cochranville, Chester County, dairy farmer and princess program supporter Horace Prange.
Cumberland County Dairy Princess Courtney Walter, 18, of Carlisle, won the Royal Recipe contest. Cambria County Dairy Princess Alexis McMullen, 17, of Loretto was runner-up in that contest. Juniata County Dairy Princess Katelyn Fry, 19, of Mifflin, and Franklin County Dairy Princess Kelli Woodring, 23, of Shippensburg, received honorable mentions in the contest.
Bedford County Dairy Princess Ann Stenning, 16, of New Enterprise, took honorable mention honors with her presentation and scrapbook. Lancaster County Dairy Princess Hannah Gockley, 17, of Mohnton was runner-up in the radio spot competition. Butler County Dairy Princess Maggie Rasp, 17, of Evans City took honorable mention with her radio spot and speech. Erie County Dairy Princess Haley Dombrowski-Little, 16, of Wattsburg received honorable mentions for her dairy promotion knowledge and her speech.
Katie Anderson, 20, 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. During her county reign, not including her specific state princess duties, Katie completed 1,220 dairy promotions and logged 12,000 miles representing the dairy farmer, milk and dairy products. Katie was praised for her unique approach to sharing the dairy story, including messages in church bulletins and newsletters throughout the county, which helped her to attain top promoter status against all other county programs for all 12 months of her reign.
The award honors the legacy of 1985-86 Huntingdon County Dairy Princess Tina Marie Shultz, lauded for her outstanding job of promoting the dairy industry and its products under extremely difficult personal circumstances. Despite losing her left leg to cancer just three months before her county pageant, Tina seldom missed an engagement or opportunity to promote. The “Outstanding County Promoter Award” was rechristened for Shultz after her death in May 1986. Members of the Shultz family attended the coronation pageant, and Tina’s mother Ruby Shultz, still of Huntingdon County, presented the award on stage to Katie.
Halee received the William C. Nichol Appreciation Award and $1,000 scholarship, which is awarded to the state dairy princess in recognition of her dairy promotion efforts throughout the year.
The four overall judges were Mary Creek, Hagerstown, Md.; Marty Tatman, Washington, D.C.; Sam Tressler, Mt. Airy, Md.; and Tristan Zuber, Byron, N.Y.
Scrapbook and radio spot judges were Linda Miller of Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., and Alexa Stoner of Mercersburg, Franklin Co. Presentation and poster display judges were Becky Bube of Lancaster, Lancaster Co.; Terra Ingram, Bellefonte, Centre Co.; Tonya Wible, McConnellsburg, Fulton Co.
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 6,650 dairy farm families. Dairy is the state’s top agriculture industry sector, contributing nearly $6 billion to the economy and supporting more than 60,000 jobs across the state.