Little International still going strong after 79 years

Brian Borden

Brian Borden

The 79th Little International will take place at the Animal Science Complex on the SDSU campus March 22 and 23

High school students from South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska will visit SDSU for the judging contests during the day and SDSU students will participate in livestock fitting and showmanship contests in the evenings, said Adam Wirt, 2002 Little I student manager.

Those events usually attract over 1,000 spectators Wirt said. Wirt, an Agricultural Systems Technology major said his job as student manager has many different responsibilities.

This year’s theme is “Pride, Promise and Prestige” and there are over 100 students working to put on this year’s Little I. Other events that will take place over the weekend include agronomy exhibits and a tractor driving contest.

The Block and Bridle auction will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Students will be auctioned off to perform four to six hours of work.Proceeds from this will benefit the Block and Bridle Club.

“My job is to kind of oversee everything that’s done. I bring all of the groups together,” Wirt said. “I just have to make sure everything gets done.”

Wirt said he moved up positions from last year.

“I was the assistant manager last year,” Wirt said. “We have an election in the College of Ag Bio for assistant manager and then the next year you move up to manager,” Wirt said.

Junior Justin Lessman, an Ag Journalism major, said Little International is a big event.

“Little I is the biggest student run agricultural exposition in the nation,” Lessman said.

Lessman, who is the assistant catalog superintendent, said Little I is like a class reunion, with many people returning from previous years.

“Little I is an event rich in history and tradition,” Lessman said.

“Still today, participants from years ago show up to Little I to see how it is the same as when they were in school as well as discovering how it has changed through the years,” Lessman said.

Lessman said his position this year involves a permanent part of this year’s Little I.

“I serve as the Assistant Catalog Superintendent this year. As far as the catalog goes, it is not just a program of the events of Little I. We try to make it something that is informative and enjoyable to read and take home,” Lessman said.

“Pat Leary down at Harold’s Printing plays a major role in getting the Little I catalog out each year,” Lessman added.

SDSU’s Little International is patterned after the Chicago Livestock Expo. The first Little I was held at SDSU in 1921 and has only been cancelled three times. Little I was cancelled in 1926 due a scarlet fever outbreak and 1944 and 1945 because of World War II.

For more information on Little International, check out their website at or call 688-6351.

In addition to Little International, the Family and Consumer Sciences Expo will also take place on Friday, March 22.

This year’s theme is: “Celebrate! Careers in Family and Consumer Sciences” and includes displays, workshops, demonstrations and judging events.The Expo concludes with a fashion show at 2 p.m. in the Volstorff Ballroom. For more information, contact the Family and Consumer Science office at 688-6181