Friday, March 14, 2014

DAIRY FOUNDATION PIE EATING CONTEST

Today is National Pi Day, a day in which math lovers everywhere are celebrating the symbol of Pi π (not to be confused with National Pie Day that takes place in January). Pi π is the Greek symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant - the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter which is approximately 3.14159.  Online shoppers can easily locate some sites that are offering deals or shipping for $3.14.  The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation had a little play with "Pi" this week when they hosted a Pie Eating Contest to raise educational money for dairy farmers and producers around the nation. I was fortunate to be a contestant. 

From the desk of Shelly Mayer, Director of the Professional Dairy Producer Foundation:
Former White House Chef Eats Pie, Strauss Winner for 2nd Straight Year in Dairy Foundation's Pie Eating Contest

Pie Eating Contest finals capped Day One of the Professional Dairy Producers Business Conference in Madison, Wis.  Pictured are Mike Hutjens, professor emeritus, University of Illinois; Winner Dean Strauss of Sheboygan Falls; Former White House Chef Walter Scheib, keynote speaker; and Keith Engel, GEA Farm Technologies.
MADISON, Wis. --Former White House Chef Walter Scheib was a dark horse entry in the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation Pie Eating Finals held Wednesday night during the Professional Dairy Producers Business Conference in Madison, WI.  Scheib, along with two other runners-up, could not devour as much pie as defending champion Dean Strauss, dairy producer from Sheboygan Falls, WI.  With his win, Strauss defended the title he earned one year ago. 

The 2014 Pie Eating Contest doubled the amount of money raised in last year's contest, with $22,572 going toward educational programming by the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation. The new record was reached thanks to spirited campaigning among the finalists, and Scheib's late entry cooked up generous sponsors who propelled him into the finals.

Joining Scheib and Strauss in the Pie Eating Finals were two other contestants: Keith Engel, GEA Farm Technologies, and Mike Hutjens, professor emeritus, University of Illinois.  Contestants who fell just short of the finals were Marty Hallock, dairy producer from Mondovi, Carl Babler of Atten Babler Commodities; Mark Clarke, executive director of the Alliant Energy Center; and Jim Dickrell, editor and associate publisher of Dairy Today magazine.  The Finalists earned their positions by garnering votes prior to the Finals.

Each vote was a $1 donation to the Foundation, made by dairy farmers and dairy industry professionals who supported their favorite candidates.  Scheib, who earlier in the evening gave the keynote address to Business Conference attendees, made the Finals thanks to a spontaneous sponsorship on stage by John Roach and Associates, Breeze Dairy Group, First Capitol Ag, matched by Charlie Arno, president of CMA Consulting.

"The Pie Eating Contest is a fun way to end a great day at the Professional Dairy Producers business Conference," says Deb Reinhart, Development Manager for the Foundation. "We thank the dairy community and these fun-loving, dedicated contestants who raised money to support youth and dairy community education projects."  
 Film footage can be found here.