5/19/2012 10:00 AM
By Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade Special Sections Editor
TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. — In front of a packed room, Brianna Smarkusky of Nicholson, Pa., was selected as the 2011-2012 Wyoming-Lackawanna Counties dairy princess. The judges said it was a close contest and after a extensive deliberation, selected Smarkusky to lead the two-county promotion team for the next year. Joining her is alternate Whisperlyn Jaget of Dunmore, Pa.
“I am really excited, I still can’t believe I won,” said Smarkusky. She said she is looking forward to start promoting the dairy industry for the next year.
Smarkusky is no stranger to dairy promotion. She is a past dairy ambassador, dairy maid and dairy miss. A junior at Lackawanna Trail High School, she enjoys showing pigs, steers and a goat through 4-H clubs. She is the daughter of Bill and Mary Smarkusky and has two brothers, Matthew and David, and a sister, Rachel. Smarkusky is also a member of the Wyoming County 4-H County Council. She also plays softball and basketball in high school and AAU team. She lives on the family’s diversified farm in Nicholson.
Jaget took a more creative approach to the event, talking about her adventures moving from Scranton, Pa., out into the country during her speech. Her grandfather had a dairy farm, but sold it before she was born. It was not until she “moved out to the middle of nowhere” that she connected with the dairy industry through friends that farmed. Her skit utilized a set of puppets that talked about how “Your Milk Comes From a Good Place” and what a day on a farm entailed for a dairy cow.
Jaget is the 19-year-old daughter of Sharrlyn Bidwell and Charles Jaget. A 2010 graduate of Mountain View High School, she will be continuing her education at Luzerne County Community College with plans to study photography. She is employed full time at Penn Foster in Scranton. She was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America in high school, serving as treasurer during her senior year. In her spare time, she enjoys showing dairy cows.
A new team of junior
Robert Forba of Select Sire Power was selected as the 2012 Wyoming-Lackawanna Dairy Person of the Year. The award is presented to someone who has gone “above and beyond” in their work to promote the dairy industry. Forba received a handpainted plate for his work. He said, “I always believed in my life to treat people the way I wanted to be treated.”
Judy Shupp, treasurer for the Wyoming-Lackawanna County dairy princess committee, was presented with the 25-Year Service Award by District Coordinator Betty Riebson.
In presenting the award, Betty talked about how the county promotion committee folded the year Judy served as a county alternate princess, leaving her without the option to pursue the chance of her own county princess year. She joined the committee in 1987 to make sure there would always be a program for girls interested in serving as dairy princess. Shupp has enjoyed working with 25 different promotion teams and often “pinch hit as mom for girls in need of a chaperone,” Reibson said.
Shupp received a pin and certificate for her years of service.
Before crowing her successor, 2011-2012 Dairy Princess Katelyn Hug of Lake Winola, Pa., along with Dairy Ambassador Abbey Hirkey talked about how much of an impact the program had on their life this past year. Hug thanked everyone for their help and support.
Editor’s note: Judy Shupp is the mother of this article’s author, Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade.