Preparations begin for ag. competition

Jamison Lamp

Jamison Lamp

With spring in full swing, barnyards are bustling across the state. Little International’s mock barnyard is no exception.

The 86th Little International, “Building agriculture in the chips,” is being held March 27 and 28 in the Animal Science Arena.

“Little I is the largest student-run (Agricultural Exposition) in the country,” Jared Sanderson, Little International manager, said.

Throughout the two-day event, there are events ranging from species showing to floriculture and crops judging to meat evaluation.

Amanda Schiefelbein, a senior animal science major, has participated in the event several times.

“I have done horse [showing] for two years,” she said. “This year I will be showing a pig and a sheep.”

There is a lot of preparation that goes into Little I events.

“Depending on the animal, you have to wash, clean and get the animal presentable,” Schiefelbein said. ” You have to know the breed and the background.”

There are different means of preparing one’s animal based on breed. Sheep need to have their wool fit, while horses have to have hair on their legs and faces trimmed.

Participants have been working on preparing their animals throughout the week.

Besides preparing their animals, committee members spend significant time turning the animal science arena into a barnyard-like setting.

“We built a new barn this year,” Sanderson said. “It is tradition that the manager sign the back of the barn, and there were signatures that were at least 25 years old.”

Members also spend time dyeing wood chips green. Using wood chips donated from Rainbow Play Systems, the chips are dyed in cattle feeding wagons. After the chips are dyed, they are spread within the white fence in the arena.

The event is geared towards all degrees of competition.

There is a novice bracket for those who have never shown a particular species before and experienced for those that have, Sanderson said.

On March 27, 1,200 to 1,500 area high school students will come to the event, as well.

“It is really important to show as a positive experience,” Schiefelbein said. “4-H and FFA come and judge.”

Schiefelbein said that it is important to show the younger students how to properly present the animals.

“We encourage everyone to come,” Sanderson said.

The two-day event is free and open to the public. The March 28 agenda also includes a silent auction, and a luncheon stand will be open both days.

Events for Little I start March 27 with preliminary rounds and conclude March 28 with a dance at the Swiftel Center from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

“Saturday we have an end of the year wrap-up dance,” Sanderson said. “Anybody is welcome; come have a good time and wind down.”

“The DJ will play all sorts of music and will also take requests,” Dance Superintendent Brett Monson said. “He has cool stuff like lighting and smoke.”

Monson said that there are expected to be 350 to 400 people at the dance.

“It’s a fun time,” he said. ” Little I is the biggest-run student event and it would be good to show support.”

Little International is its own group on campus with 107 members.

Participants for this year’s event come from every college on campus except the College of Nursing.