Monticello royalty program provides unique experience

Monticello Royalty Candidates Kaitlyn Kordell and Danya Duncan organize safety helmets during the June 15 Walk ‘n Roll event. (Photo by Tim Hennagir)

Each summer, the Monticello Royalty Candidate Program brings together a group of young women with high hopes and takes them on a life-changing journey.
The program opens new doors and educates candidates about the city of Monticello. Volunteers Marcia Becker, Marla Maurer,Tanya Weiman, Kristine Becker and Brenda Skime introduce prospective royalty to businesses that are located in Monticello and volunteer organizations that some people take for granted.
“The candidate program teaches the importance of volunteering,” said Skime.
“Candidates volunteer their time and give back to their community, whether it be planting flowers or playing bingo,” she said.
During the time spent with other candidates, special friendships and memories are made that last a lifetime.
“The Monticello Royalty program showcases our city to area towns,” said Sandy Suchy, executive director of Monticello Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Candidates and royalty are required to learn about Monticello and what the city has offer so they can share those attributes with others they meet, Suchy said.
“They also showcase business sponsors from time to time throughout the program,” Suchy said. “They share stories about our swan season, invite neighboring towns and royalty to our community celebration in July and represent Monticello at the Minneapolis Aquatennial.  These young ladies are true ambassadors.”
The last week in June was an extremely busy time for Skime, her fellow program volunteers, current royalty and the new group of Monticello candidates.
Judging Day was Tuesday, June 25, at the Monticello Community Center. In the morning, candidates had personal interviews with judges followed by the Red Carpet Gala, 2012-13 Monticello Royalty farewell, judging program and reception at 5 p.m. also attended by 2012-2013 Monticello Princess Taylor Emberton, Princess Kayla Pribyl and Miss Monticello Mylissa Sauser.
Emberton, the daughter of Karen Emberton and Lenny Kalway, was sponsored by Karlsburger Foods, Inc. She will be returning to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities this fall to continue her Bachelor’s Degree in Retail Merchandising with an Apparel emphasis.
Her favorite candidate Riverfest memory? When candidates made their traditional afternoon visit to senior bingo at the Monticello Community Center, Emberton was calling the numbers and said “Zero Six Zero” instead of O-60.  She was immediately corrected by the seniors, who told her it was “O-60, Sweetie.” Emberton’s response? “Give me a break! Can’t you see I’m blonde!”
Skime said that everyone had a good natured laugh at Emberton’s comment.
Pribyl’s sponsor was Veolia Environmental Services. She is the daughter of Cory Pribyl and Kim and Jeff Engene. Pribyl will be attending the Aveda Institute in the fall for Esthiology and Cosmetology. Her favorite candidate Riverfest memory is being in Sunday Riverfest parade and seeing familiar faces along the way.
Miss Monticello Mylissa Sauser’s sponsor was TDS Telecom. She is daughter of Mike and Terrie Sauser and Jean Sauser and Kurt Meyer. Sauser will be transferring to St. Cloud Technical and Community College this fall to become a sonographer.
Skime reported that Sauser’s favorite candidate Riverfest memory was performing the royalty and candidate dance routine at last year’s talent show and then going as a group to watch the Friday night fireworks show.
Another late June experience for royalty candidates is a  progressive dinner that shares a name with another Riverfest tradition in July: Taste of Monticello.
“We visited Rancho Grande, Buffalo Wild Wings and Culvers,” Skime said. “This is a fun night, We appreciate the businesses that were such generous hosts.”
The Big Lake Spud Fest Parade, Saturday, June 29, and attendance at the Monticello Community Center’s “Movie in the Park” the same night rounded out the candidates’ pre-Riverfest scheduled of events, Skime said.
During Riverfest week (July 8 to July 14), royalty candidates have a full slate of activities, including talent show dress rehearsal, block parties, coronation rehearsal, talent show, fireworks, 5K race, Art in the Park, street dance, parade and a Sunday coronation.
When asked to list some of the key attributes of successful candidates, Skime mentioned compassion, respect, responsibility, outgoing nature and ability to work a team player.
“It is the hope of the Monticello Royalty Committee that each of the young ladies involved with this program gain an understanding of who they truly are and what they want for their future,” Skime said. “We hope this experience will help them fulfill their dreams while giving back to the community.”

Watch for additional Riverfest stories and updates this week at

Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at [email protected]