Athens woman named 2011 'Alice'
Wirkus, the daughter of Allen and Barbara Wirkus, owners of a Marathon County dairy and swine farm, succeeds 2010 Alice in Dairyland, Christine Marie Lepple Lindner, 27, of Fall River, who won her title last year in Janesville.
Rock County also hosted the finals in 1993 in Beloit.
A 2005 graduate of Edgar High School, Wirkus is a December 2010 agricultural education and mathematics graduate of UW-River Falls. She is the educational chairwoman of the Marathon County Market Animal Show and Sale Committee and was the 2008 Wisconsin Jersey Queen.
The other four finalists were Holly C. Melander, 23, of Merrill; Melissa Marcella Ploeckelman, 24, of Stetsonville; Amy Marie Roden, 22, of West Bend; and Sarah Ann Sacker, 21, of Monroe.
Sacker, who graduated last weekend from UW-Madison with a degree in dairy science and life sciences communication, is the daughter of James and Susan Sacker of rural Monroe.
Sacker served as the 2005-06 Green County Dairy Queen and continues to help on the family's dairy farm.
Wirkus will officially begin her Alice in Dairyland duties on June 1. She will be a $40,000 state-paid Department of Agriculture employee who will travel more than 40,000 miles around the state in an E-85 flex-fuel Chevrolet Tahoe courtesy of the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board.
Her job is to educate the media, youth and civic groups about the many facets of the state's agricultural industry.
Grant County will host the 65th Alice in Dairyland finals on May 19, 2012, in Platteville.