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Local girl an ambassador for cattle breed

Jenna White is no stranger to traveling for competitions, but this year, her national title of North American South Devon Senior Ambassador was awarded to her a relatively short drive away in Little Falls.

The national competition took place during the cattle show at the Morrison County Fairgrounds June 30 to July 2.

The competition moves from state to state, and next year it will be in Oklahoma.

"We just go through an interview process, and there's the two different age categories, and they pick one from each category, and then we're crowned before the show," White said.

The New York Mills High School student, who lives six miles from Bluffton and has a Wadena address, was the South Devon Junior Ambassador from 2009-2011. Now she is 15 years old, going into her sophomore year, and will hold the Senior Ambassador title from 2011-2013.

Ambassadors promote their breed of beef cattle at shows, handing out ribbons and talking to people.

White found out about the competition itself simply by looking through the booklets handed out at shows and applying for the beef spokesperson competition.

She has also been in the Minnesota Beef Spokesperson competition, winning the junior competition the first year she competed and placing on the team this past year. The contest includes a mock interview, mock classroom presentation and a consumers' report.

Last fall, she competed at the National Beef Spokesperson Competition in South Dakota.

Competitions have taken White to many areas of the country including Wyoming, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa. Then, of course, there is the National Western Stock Show in Colorado.

They also go to the Minnesota State Fair if there are enough animals to make the trip.

White said her favorite aspect of competitions is meeting new people and talking to them.

"I've learned new public speaking skills and how to talk to people and present myself in public," she said.

White talked about how her family got into their particular breed of cattle.

"We moved to our farm now about ten years ago from Detroit Lakes," she said. "Our neighbor had brought over some cows, and they just kind of stayed there, so that's how we got in with the cattle."

The neighbors, Dan and Julie Hoffman, show South Devons, and White's family followed suit.

South Devons have distinct characteristics as a breed.

"They're really maternal and docile," she said.

Anyone can watch the shows and support them.

"We're a smaller breed so we need the help from the different area businesses," she said.

Shows include the Morrison County Fair from Aug. 11-14 and the East Otter Tail County Fair which ended Sunday, July 24.

"We also go to the Wadena County Fair," she said.

The Wadena County Fair is taking place July 27-30.