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GOSHEN -- Not everybody gets to see Miss America show off her cow-milking skills, but visitors to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Monday saw that Katie Stam is udderly talented.
She even gave lessons to a few dozen children, showing them how to milk Elsie.
"It was great," said Christopher Boyd, 9, who got lessons along with his sister, Elizabeth. "Great," "cool" and "fun" were the reactions of most all of the children. That made Stam feel like she accomplished what she wanted: promoting the dairy lifestyle.
"I really feel like we made a difference," she said after the milking lessons.
Stam grew up on a dairy farm around Seymour. She was a 10-year 4-H member and grew up attending the Jackson County Fair.
This is one of only three fairs she'll attend this year, along with the Jackson County and the Indiana State fairs. She came here on behalf of the American Dairy Association of Indiana to highlight a new exhibit sponsored by the association.
"I love this and I commend you on putting this all together," she said of the Miracle of Life Calving Center, where she talked to a crowd. The center features several cattle ready to give birth, and has seen five births since the fair started -- though all in the middle of the night, so far.
"I remember the first time I saw a calf being born," Stam said. She watched her grandpa work with the cow, and said it was "a very special moment for me."
She told the youths gathered around her that she hopes the exhibit inspires them to become part of the farming community.
"Growing up, I absolutely loved being a farmer," she said.
"So much of my values, I learned growing up on the farm." The importance of family and a work ethic came from the farm. She also believes in 4-H, saying "that importance of reaching out to your community and being involved" she learned from 4-H led her to use her position to benefit charities.
One girl asked her a great question Monday morning at the fair: "How did I change from a farm girl to Miss America? Who would've ever thought?"
She said it took a lot of commitment and hard work, but "it goes to show that nothing is impossible."