Jessica McDowell’s commitment to the 4-H program has provided her with a scholarship for $1,250 from the Rabbit and Sheep Scholarship Committee.
The Wanatah resident spent more than 10 years competing in the LaPorte County 4-H and mini-4-H programs, showing rabbits, goats, sheep, swine, steer, turkeys and chickens.
“I love showing my animals at the fair. I work with them all year long to get them ready. I love to show them off,” she said.
This year marks McDowell’s sixth year showing goats in the Indiana State Fair, and her second year showing rabbits.
“My best win there was a Reserve Champion I received on my Sable goat. And my best win at state fair with rabbits was a reserve champion with my American rabbit,” she said.
“All animals are judged on correct body types. Animal owners breed their best animals to produce the best possible animals. Some animals also are judged on correct markings,” she explained.
McDowell also boasts recognition for the grand champion roaster rabbit, grand and reserve champion Rhinelander rabbits and two reserve champion sheep.
A 2013 graduate of LaCrosse High School, she will attend Don Roberts Beauty School in Valparaiso and hopes to one day own her own salon.
McDowell also is an accomplished volleyball player, chosen to play with the elite Munciana Volleyball Club in 2012.
Her success there took her to Hawaii and Austrailia this year to play with Down Under Sports, where her team competed against Australian college teams as well as other U.S. teams.
McDowell is the daughter of Michael McDowell and Roseann (Randy) Pressel, and also enjoys photography and spending time with friends.