2014 Indiana State Fair Queen wins 17th annual celebrity cow-milking competition

This year's contestants watched in disbelief as Alyssa Garnett, 2014 Indiana State Fair Queen, poured the milk from her metal bucket into the measuring cup at the Indiana State Fair's Celebrity Milking Contest Wednesday. It overflowed onto the ground.

And the crowd applauded and cheered for Garnett, who had two-and-a-half cups of milk (of what didn't overflow) after her 60 seconds of milking.

“Hopefully now I'm not disowned from the family,” joked Garnett, who is related to the Knebel family, which provides the cow each year for this contest and also runs the cow birthing center and livestock nursery at the fair. Rich Knebel Sr. had jokingly told Garnett she would be walking home if she lost.

Alyssa Garnett, the Indiana State Fair queen, milks a cow in preparation for a contest later in the week. Garnett says her hands start to cramp up after about 30 seconds of milking. Taylor Irby/ BSU Journalism at the Fair

This year proved to be a stiff competition, with two new competitors. The other two competitors had taken part in this event before: Kevin Freeman from WFMS and Terri Stacy from WIBC.

“We got more production out of this crew,” said Tom Simpson, who has been the announcer for the event for approximately 12 years and has been doing public address for the fair since 1988.

Bobbi Bates, special events and entertainment coordinator at the fair, said this competition is just really fun for both the contestants and the crowd.

“Where else could you do that?” said Richie Knebel, who helps run the cow birthing center and livestock nursery. “It's quirky, so why not?”

Garnett had been practicing her milking skills every day, said 12-year-old Schlyer Knebel, and so it was not a surprise to him that she took first place.

Nor was it a surprise to the rest of the crowd, which sat attentively watching. Although wasn't easy to predict a winner in such a competition, most were not at all surprised that the talented Garnett won, all while wearing dangling earrings, a sash and a sparkling tiara.

“We're really proud of her,” Knebel Sr. said. “She got up there and made it work.”

Alex Kincaid is a writer for BSU Journalism at the Fair, a Ball State University immersive-learning project placing 25 student journalists at the heart of the Midway to tell the weird and wonderful stories of the 2014 Indiana State Fair.