Searsmont sisters take dairy princess crowns
Searsmont — Elida and Emma Mehuren know a thing or two about what it takes to live on a working dairy farm, and the sisters recently earned a pair of crowns for their knowledge of the industry.
The sisters apparently made quite an impression on the judges for the 2012 Dairy Princess Pageant at the Clinton Fair Sept. 6, where 16-year-old Elida was crowned the 2012 senior dairy princess and 12-year-old Emma won the junior title.
The pageant requires entrants to showcase talents, sport ball gowns and give speeches, much like any other similar contest, but the sisters say the difference in the dairy princess pageant is the expectation that contestants show what they know about the dairy industry.
"You have to give a speech, and you have to tell a little bit about you and the farm that sponsored you," said Emma.
Their family farm, Faithful Venture — owned and operated by their father, Glendon Mehuren — sponsored Elida and Emma for the pageant. Additional sponsors for the girls included Thompson's Dairy Farm, Ingraham Equipment, Hammond Tractor Company, Morrison's Custom Feeds, Hageman's IBA Sales, LCS Mechanical and Robbins Lumber.
Emma said she told the judges about how she grew up on her family farm and about all she's learned from that way of life.
"I know the struggles that come with it, and how things get done on a dairy farm," said Emma.
Emma has also cared for her own cows, which she and Elida show at summertime fairs as members of the local 4-H Club the duo started in their community about a year ago. The home-schooled seventh-grader said she also enjoys riding her horse, Buddy, as well as playing baseball and basketball.
Elida, a junior at Belfast Area High School, said she also drew from her experiences living on a working farm.
"It's been a part of my life since I was born," said Elida, who also competes on the BAHS track and field team.
Demonstrating skills commonly used on a dairy farm is also an important component to the pageant.
"All the girls have to compete in a cow-milking contest," said Elida. "Some of the girls asked [the judges] if they were going to be milking a real cow."
Since the contestants were required to milk an actual cow, Elida and Emma had an advantage over their competitors — the girls help their father milk 85 cows each day before and after school, along with carrying out other routine chores like haying, repairing fences and feeding.
"We ended up winning, which was good," said Elida.
There were originally 11 girls competing in Elida's division, but by the final round of the contest the field dwindled to eight. Emma initially competed against five other girls, but one young woman dropped out of her division once she saw what exactly was involved in winning the junior dairy princess title.
Since winning the titles, the sisters have promoted the Maine dairy industry by appearing in parades, visiting an agricultural trade show in Massachusetts and reading to second-graders at the Gladys Weymouth School in Morrill.
Elida said she especially loved her visit to the elementary school.
"All the little girls asked us if we were real princesses," said Elida with a smile.
The sisters also earned scholarship money along with their crowns. Elida received a $1,000 check, while Emma secured $500 for her education fund.
Emma said she'd likely remain working in the dairy industry after high school, either working on a farm or perhaps starting her own farm someday. She is also considering a career in the large animal veterinary sciences field.
As far as the future goes for Elida, she said she's not quite sure what she wants to do after high school.
"I'd like to travel and see different things," said Elida. "I'll definitely help on a farm, maybe on Emma's farm."