Winneshiek County Cattlemen’s Association has announced the candidates for royalty for 2023. The annual beef banquet will be held March 4 in Festina.
Winneshiek County Beef Queen candidates:
* Braunwyn Darrington is the daughter of Andrew and Nicole Darrington of Decorah. She attends Decorah High School and is active in FFA, 4-H, and County Council. Her achievements include lettering in football cheer, lifting, and speech. Braunwyn’s hobbies include tennis, lifting, singing, reading, and listening to music. She works as a CNA at Barthell Eastern Star Nursing Home. She plans to attend Winona State for Nursing and hopes to become a pediatric nurse. Braunwyn runs a registered Red Angus herd with her sister called BK Red Angus. She shows beef and rabbits through the 4-H and FFA programs. Her goals as beef queen include educating people about the beef industry and those with show and work with beef. She is also passionate about advocating for growing the industry and to help people understand how the beef industry needs to keep growing and how important it is to our country.
* Kayleigh Smith is the daughter of Chad and Sarah Smith of Decorah. She attends Decorah High School in which she is and active member of the Decorah FFA Chapter. She has competed at the local and state levels in leadership competition for the past two years. She is excited to be competing again this year. She is also an active member of the Saint Benedict’s Parish in Decorah. Kayleigh’s hobbies include helping on the family farm, spring and fall field work, showing cattle, camping, and kayaking. She works for Foresight farms feeding and caring for calves. In the future she plans to attend NICC’s vet tech program, then transferring to Iowa State University to pursue a degree as a large animal veterinarian. Kayleigh’s family runs a 50-head cow/calf operation which includes some of her own cattle. They also grow hay, beans, and corn. As Winneshiek County beef queen, she will work to promote and spread knowledge about the beef industry by participating in parades, school visits, radio and media promotions, and serving lots of burgers and steaks.
Little Miss Cowgirl candidates:
* Brinley Lechtenberg is the daughter of Karla and Justin Lechtenberg of Calmar. She is a 4th grader at St. Teresa of Calcutta in Spillville. Brinley is a member of the Calmar Swim Team and the Northeast Iowa Swim Team. She is also a member of the Decorah Lutheran Church. She is proud of winning first place at the local Knights of Columbus Spelling Bee in January. Brinley’s hobbies include art, basketball, swimming, and working with her animals. She is also an active member in the Prairie Shooting Stars 4-H Club. Her future plans include being an active 4-H member for years to come. Brinley’s family raises pigs, cattle, and corn. As Winneshiek County Cattlemen Little Miss Cowgirl, she wants to educate others in beef and work at Cattlemen Events. She looks forward to meeting new people and making memories.
* Aria Yoder is the daughter of Nichole and Kevin Hotvedt and Steven Yoder from Decorah. Aria is a 4th grader at Carrie Lee Elementary School in Decorah. She is an active member of Hesper Helpers 4-H club and the Hesper Lutheran Youth Group. Aria’s hobbies include working with calves, art, and taking pictures. She helps at home with feeding and bedding calves. It is her goal to one day be a teacher. Aria’s family runs a Simmental and Black Angus cow/calf operation. They also raise beans and corn. As Little Miss Cowgirl, Aria will teach others about beef, participate in Winneshiek County Cattlemen events, and hopes to make new friends.