Anya Tikka | Democrat
Newly crowned Sullivan County Dairy Princess Danielle Dorothy Sykes of Callicoon, right back, and the Alternate Dairy Princess Adeline Jean Bodnaruik of Glen Spey. In front are Milk Maids Beth Sykes, 8, of North Branch and Xiara Sennett, 7, of Jeffersonville.
Dairy Court is still cream of the crop
Story by Anya Tikka
ROSCOE May 7, 2013 Although the number of dairy farms in Sullivan County is dwindling, the Sullivan County Dairy Promotion Committee keeps an active schedule of events to keep the honored tradition alive.
One of its annual highlights is the annual dinner to introduce its Dairy Promotion Court and where contestants compete for the Dairy Princess title and crown.
It was recently hosted at the Rockland House. Amy Sykes of North Branch, the event’s organizer and committee chair, estimated there were about 80 people in attendance.
“This was a big year for us. It has been four years since we have had a Princess but we have a court and banquet every year,” said Sykes, herself a Dairy Princess in 1990-91 and active on the Promotion Committee since then.
Amy’s daughter, Danielle Dorothy Sykes, was crowned Princess after she and Adeline Jean Bodnaruik of Glen Spey gave presentations about why they want to be the next Princess, giving accounts of their dairy connected activities.
“I feel pretty good. I feel great!” Danielle exclaimed after her win.
Danielle explained that she spends time working at her grandparents’ (Robert and Linda Kays of Callicoon) 160-acre dairy farm where they milk about 120 cows. Her slide presentation highlighted her part in dairy promotion in the county, where she takes part actively in the 4-H Moo Juicers and 4-H Dairy Bowl. This is Danielle’s eighth year in the program; she has been a dairy maid and a dairy ambassador.
“Since I was little, I always loved dairy. It’s a food I eat every day. It’s healthy,” Sykes said. “I’m running for princess because I want to help the few farms that are left in Sullivan County.”
Bodnaruik explained she works with Glen Spey Explorers 4-H Club, and loves dairy products. She helps out friends in their farms, and talked about the importance of supporting local farmers.
Her presentation focused on the health aspects of dairy foods, especially for those suffering from osteoporosis. She wants to teach kids and adults of the importance of both eating healthy and exercise.
As for Sykes’ win, Bodnaruik acknowledged, “I’m so happy for her!”
Last year’s New York State Alternate Dairy Princess, Haye Groot from Walton in Delaware County, who came to the pageant, explained, “We get to travel all over New York State to talk to kids in schools, we work with NFL (National Football League), I talk to the Giants, Jets, and Buffalo Bill players, and we team up to teach kids to eat healthy and to be active for 60 minutes a day… we go to pageants all over the state for new county princesses. It’s a lot of fun.”
Also present and acting as one of the judges was this year’s NYS First Alternate Dairy Princesses Meghan Rohe from Syracuse. She gave an update about statewide dairy industry, “We have a partnership with McDonalds, and now we’re trying to start a partnership with Taco Bell and Quaker Oats. I don’t know if you can walk into a Taco Bell and come out with anything without cheese on it. Most oat meal is served with milk, a huge opportunity for the dairy industry. The US Department of Agriculture recently updated their nutrition charts, and dairy is still on the list.”
Rounding out the court were Dairy Ambassador Brandi Burk, 15, of Cochecton; Milk Maid Carrie Sykes, 10, of North Branch; Milk Maid Brittaney Burk, 9, of Cochecton; Milk Maid Beth Sykes, 8, of North Branch; and Milk Maid Xiara Sennett, 7, of Jeffersonville.