87 years young, Little I still in style

Liz Bos

Liz Bos

before they are assigned to students.

The drawings for the animals took place in February; students began working with their animals a maximum of three weeks before Little I depending on the species of animal, said Johnson.

“Students do everything from the animal out in the pasture to the animal in the show ring,” Johnson said.

Students showing animals in the fitting competitions are judged on their animals’ cleanliness, clipping of hair or trimming of wool.

In the showmanship competitions, students are judged on how well they show off their animals. Individuals with backgrounds in judging animals are hired to do the actual animal judging, with an emphasis on trying to get SDSU alumni, Johnson said.

“We hire judges that are experts and that are qualified to judge; people that judge different livestock shows on a routine basis,” Johnson said.

As for the judging contests, executive council member Staci Anderson said there are a variety of categories for the students to participate in.

“There’s a lot of judging for the high school events; marketing crops, livestock, the different species in livestock, so there’s a lot of different stuff even the high schoolers can get involved in,” Anderson said.

Other judging categories include floriculture, meat evaluation and dairy products.

Johnson, a senior agricultural business and agricultural and resource economics major, has been working all year with the rest of Little I’s 100-plus staff members to make sure all the elements of the event go smoothly.

“It’s a huge responsibility; it’s the largest event of its kind in the nation,” Johnson said. This is her fifth year of participation with Little I.

Last year she was assistant manager of the event and she showed livestock the two years before that, as well as participating in the judging contest in high school.

Although Little I is primarily organized by students from the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, students from any college can be involved in the event.

No prior experience is necessary for most of the animal showing competitions. Novice divisions are available for all of the animal species except horse, for safety reasons, said Johnson.

“Anybody that wants to be involved (can be),” Anderson said. “You don’t have to be a producer by any means.”