St. Joseph boy's welded mailbox earns top 4-H award at state fair

St. Joseph boy's welded mailbox earns top 4-H award at state fair

ST. JOSEPH — Bobby Rowland had one goal this year: earning the 4-H Superior Award — the highest rank available — at the state fair for his welded mailbox.

On Sunday, he brought the award home to St. Joseph.

Bobby and his dad, RJ, a welding instructor at Danville Area Community College, came up with the idea for the project together.

"It's an awesome feeling to teach a 13-year-old something that most adults cannot do or have even tried," RJ said.

RJ is passionate about welding, something he has passed on to his son, and has started a welding program that will prepare students to work in construction or trade manufacturing.

"I'm very proud to know that my son is learning that hard work and dedication pays off," RJ said. "This is something that will help him the rest of his life."

Bobby has a love for 4-H and said he likes that it allows him to focus on topics he is interested in.

He said this year's project was very special, considering he built the mailbox for his grandparents' new home in Kentucky.

"I wanted to make something for my grandparents," he said.

He said the project was no small undertaking and took lots of work, preparation and dedication. He started planning it in January and it took several months to complete.

"I had to learn to weld and be safe while doing it," he said.

His mother, Dana, said it was nice to see her son and husband working together.

"RJ is a great teacher," she said. "The past two years, he taught Bobby woodworking, which resulted in state fair projects. I love that they are not only spending time together but that RJ is teaching Bobby skills he can use throughout his life."

Bobby said he enjoyed working on the project with his dad.

"I was glad he knew how to weld and was able to teach me this skill," Bobby said.

Bobby said he would encourage everyone to participate in 4-H.

"You get to learn new things and meet new people," he said. "You can pick from all kinds of projects, so there is something for everyone."

Nora Maberry-Daniels is editor of the Leader, a News-Gazette Media community newspaper. For more, visit

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