Courtney Schneider, Miss Sleepy Eye 2012, attended the week-long Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassadors program

“It was so thrilling,” said Courtney Schneider, Miss Sleepy Eye 2012, of her week-long competition at the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador’s program. “I’m proud that I can represent myself and the community of Sleepy Eye and I learned so much throughout the week from the program and from the other girls.”

Schneider, daughter of Kevin Schneider and Amy Wendinger of Sleepy Eye was among 47 candidates who attended the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador’s program the week of July 14-19.

Since 1940, the Aquatennial has selected ambassadors to represent the Minneapolis Aquatennial throughout the state, nation and world. Around 50 candidates from across the state of Minnesota compete for the Queen of the Lakes title and two attendants. The candidates are chosen from a pool of ambassadors who have previously represented their own communities.

On July 19 at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota’s west bank, Schneider represented Sleepy Eye once again. Riley Bruns the former Miss Annandale, is the Minneapolis Aquatennial 2014 Queen of the Lakes.

Presiding beside her will be Princesses Alison Gunter and Jeni Haler, the former Miss Clara City and Waconia respectively.

While at the festival, Schneider was kept busy daily, waking up between 5:30-6 a.m. to get ready for each day. Days one through four began with the judging competition.

Schneider said the judges asked candidates questions about their goals, views on current events and politics. After the meetings were finished, the candidates spent their days attending different events for the festival.

One of Schneider’s favorite events was the Past Princess Cruise. At this event Anna Surprenant, 2013 Aquatennial Princess and former Miss Sleepy Eye 2011, and Amanda Spaeth 2005 Aquatennial Princess and former Miss Sleepy Eye 2003, along with Schneider, were able to represent Sleepy Eye.

Another favorite event was coronation and having the support of her family and friends, including her Miss Sleepy Eye attendants Ellen Mathiowetz and Anna Ibberson in attendance.

One part of the scholarship program is a Meet the Candidates event. Each candidate was required to wear something that either describes her community or their personality.

At the event each girl is given a couple of minutes to promote their community and explain their attire.

Schneider wore sleep wear and talked about how, despite the name of the community, Sleepy Eye is anything but sleepy.

“I told the crowd that coming from a town named Sleepy Eye one might think that we are a tired, quiet and sleepy little town, when in fact we are the exact opposite,” Schneider said. “We are a hard working agricultural community with productive businesses and a rich history. I invited everyone to join us for Buttered Corn Days, a not so sleepy celebration!” 

The week-long competition came to a close on Friday, July 20 when the three ambassadors were chosen.

“I was asked if I was disappointed that I didn’t come home with anything,” Schneider said. “Obviously that’s something you work for all week, but I learned so much and I took so much from the program. I’m excited to continue to be involved in Miss Sleepy Eye and the Aquatennial program.” 

Schneider attends Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall studying marketing. She worked part-time at the Sleepy Eye Summer School program, and this fall Courtney will work at the Southwest Marketing Advisory Center (SMAC) office in Marshall working on marketing jobs in southern Minnesota.

“I’m so thankful for this opportunity and for the support of the community members who attended Aquatennial festivities and the support the entire community showed me,” Schneider said. “Even after coronation I was receiving messages that people were proud of me and supporting me. I’m thankful for the support and I couldn’t have done it without Anna Surprenant.”