First, if you're reading this, I would like you to know I'm not writing this article to get thousands of views, but I'm writing this article for me.

This past weekend was a whirlwind full of emotions from nervousness to excitement to happiness to relief all rolled into one. And if you haven't heard or really don't know me, it was because I was crowned the 2017 Michigan Sugar Queen, an honor that means the world to me.

Now many of you would assume the sole reason behind my interest in the title would be for the scholarship money or the crown, like many of the other women were; however, that is not the case for me. To be completely honest, the crown and the scholarship were only added bonuses because being crowned Queen means so much more to me, something that money cannot buy.

Leading up to the crowning, I was full of anticipation. This was something I had wanted for a long time, ever since I was a little girl sitting at the parades and watching the beautiful queens ride by on their floats and imitating their perfected Queen waves. If you asked eight-year-old-me, I would have said I wanted to be Queen for those very reasons, the crown, the wave, and the beautiful dresses. But nineteen-year-old-me has something different in mind.

Nineteen-year-old-me wanted to be Queen to represent the lifestyle I had grown up in and fallen in love with. Growing up a farm kid, isn't always easy, but it surely is one of the most rewarding lifestyles a person could have. The lessons learned are something you can't get anywhere else, I mean where else could you say you learned how to prepare the perfectly cleaned and prepped sugar beet for your local county fair?

But in all seriousness, the lessons learned are something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. From learning the ropes of what hard work truly means to learning the values of family time and the creation and maintenance of strong bonds between loved ones.

Therefore, being Queen is much more than the title and the crown, it's representing the Sugar Beet Industry that has shaped my life, as well as the countless other of farmer's lives who spend their lives laboring away in the fields so people worldwide have food on their tables everyday to eat. Being Queen has given me a voice to educate and advocate for the agricultural industry, which so desperately needs a voice as health-crazed individuals, without the scientifically backed research, try to shut us down. And finally, being queen has given me the opportunity to give back to a company that has already taught me so much.

I am beyond excited for the opportunities that are to come and the people I will meet along the way. All I ask, is that you don't judge me or jump to the conclusions by the crown I wear, but for the knowledge I share. I can promise you that I'm not just a pretty face.