Students compete in ag events at Little I

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

SDSU students and high schools students from South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa competed in the 81st Little International over the weekend.

“It’s one of the largest collegiate events,” said senior Sarah VanDerVliet.

Little I is a competition in which students compete on their knowledge of animals and agriculture. Little I is completely run by SDSU students.

They have three advisors, but the 80 students did most of the organizing and managing. They have been planning the event since November.

The Little I staff is proud of the work they did.

“We run the entire thing,” said senior Kate Englin. “Our motto is ‘The largest one in the country.'”

Staff member Shelly Stueber said Little I went smoothly.

“It went as well as we expected it to,” said the sophomore.

Audience members believed that attending Little I is very beneficial. John Woodbury of Dupree, S.D. brings his three kids to the event so they “can learn to identify the strengths and weaknesses” of animals.

The competition consists of several events that judge horses, livestock, crops, floriculture, meats and dairy products. Students are given four animals or plants of the same class. They then place the subjects from first to fourth, depending on their quality.

Students have 10 to 12 minutes to examine the plant or animal. Once time is up, their places are matched up with the official ranks, which are done by the Little I staff. The students then receive points.

Another way to earn points is to take tests on subjects such as machinery salesmanship and ag products salesmanship. Students can also win points by answering questions about the animals or plants they examined.

For the most part, high school students did the judging, but a few college students also participated.

There are special competitions for collegiate participants. They can earn points in the Lady’s/Men’s Tractor Driving competition.

Students can also choose to participate in the showmanship and fitting categories. In this contest, students drew for an animal in February.

They only had a certain number of weeks to work with the animal and groom them for competition.

They showed the animal to a panel of judges and were scored on how well they connected with the animal, showmanship and how well the animal was prepared.

Usually, SDSU students only competed as individuals, but this year they were able to compete as clubs. Campus organizations can have their members represent them as a club. A club is composed of four students, but only the top three scores are used for the combined score.

Clubs were added to program to increase the number of collegiate participants said VanDerVliet.

Stueber said high school participation was the same as last year but the number of college students increased.

Two awards were given to collegiate participants, under classman high point and upper classman high point. A club high point was also given. The high school top finishers were also recognized said VanDerVliet.

During the festivities on Saturday, there was a reception in honor of the Agriculturists of the Year, John and Delina Nagel of Avon.