Dairy Court is Constant in Time of Change in County
By Jeanne Sager
ROSCOE May 1, 2007 Call her “princess,” and you’re apt to get one of Megan Meyer’s sideways glares.
The deep dimples will give her away Meyer’s delighted to be this year’s dairy princess.
But it hasn’t changed her.
She’s just a farm girl.
She hates dressing up.
But she’ll do it because she loves her world.
“I love getting up to the sights, the sounds, the smells of the animals,” Meyer told the small crowd assembled at the Rockland House in Roscoe Friday night.
The dwindling members of the Sullivan County dairy farm community watched as the Sullivan County Dairy Promotion Committee charged Meyer with spreading the good words of “Three-A-Day” and “got milk?” for the next year.
In more than 40 years, there have been more than 40 princesses each with a court to help her convince the county to drink more milk and eat more cheese.
“As a little girl raised on a dairy farm in this community, I can remember seeing the dairy princess,” Meyer said. “Every time I saw her, I remember I want to be her!”
Seventeen years ago, Amy Sykes was the county’s dairy princess, and she says the job is even more important today.
“Dairy farming is vital to our economy, and dairy farms are slowly diminishing in our county,” she said sadly. “It’s really important to keep this going.”
With that in mind, the committee has enlarged the traditional court in recent years to include boys and opened up the age requirements to foster an interest in the younger members of the farming community.
Today’s princesses are accompanied at events not just by dairy ambassadors but “dairy dudes” and “milk maids” who help them hand out literature and serve up milk-based treats for the masses.
The court is open to anyone with an interest in keeping the dairy industry going some kids live on farms, others don’t.
Meyer, a junior at Sullivan West, has been raised by mom Bonnie and dad Robert Sykes on the Sykes family farm in North Branch.
She admits to a love of horses, but has put her focus on promoting the dairy side for now.
She’ll be joined this year by Sam Terwilliger, a second-time ambassador from Jeffersonville.
Terwilliger’s sister, Nicole, was the 2006-07 princess, and she’s moved to the ambassador’s seat to help Meyer on the busy road ahead.
The children of Richard and Janet Terwilliger, the brother and sister team are both members of 4-H and students at Sullivan West.
They’ll get an extra hand from Tamara Bodnaruik, daughter of Gregory and Cheri Bodnaruik of Glen Spey. A member of the Dairy Bowl team, Tamara is also an active 4-Her.
The younger sector of the court includes another brother and sister team second-time milk maid Danielle Sykes and her brother Eddie, who will be a dairy dude this year.
The children of Amy and Ed Sykes of North Branch, both are members of 4-H and have their own dairy animals.
Dairy dude Matthew Edwards, son of Neal and Mary Edwards of Youngsville, and second-time milk maid Brandi Burk, daughter of Art and Tonya Burk of Cochecton, also have their own animals at home.
They’ll have to steal time in their busy summer schedules to keep up with farm and animal chores this year the court will keep them running from festival to parade, street fair to farmers market.
Folks can keep up with their whereabouts on the Web at www.sullivancountydairypromotion.com.