Students show variety of animals at 92nd annual Little International

The largest two-day agricultural exposition in the country, Little International, will take place March 27 to 28 at South Dakota State University in the Animal Science Arena.

Little I provides college students with the opportunity to partake in judging contests, showmanship competitions and fitting challenges. There are six species available for students to show: sheep, pigs, horses, dairy cattle, beef cattle and goats, which are new this year.

Adam Krause, the assistant manager of Little I, said it was manager, John Weber’s idea to add goats to the show.

“Goats have grown to be a large part of the show industry, so Weber thought it made sense to add them for those involved in the industry and to increase education about goats,” Krause said.

Little International is planned, organized and implemented by students at South Dakota State University. Staff participation increased from last year, growing from 120 to 154 staff members. Each staff member is responsible for specific duties within his/herrespective committee in order to ensure Little I runs smoothly, Krause said.

Students who are showing an animal are allowed two to three weeks leading up to Little I to work with their animal, which varies according to the species. There are novice and experienced divisions in the show. Those that have shown a species even once before are considered experienced. The students are judged in two separate competitions: showmanship and fitting.

Rob Foiles, a sophomore general agriculture major, only has previous showing experience from competing with his dog in 4-H. He is showing a beef heifer for the first time ever at Little I this year.

The decision to show an animal came easy to Foiles.

“Why not show an animal? I might as well learn when I’m young,” Foiles said. 

Cassidy Wulf, a freshman early childhood education major, is showing a goat at Little I in the experienced division.

“I’m looking most forward to just being able to work with my goat as an escape from school work,” Wulf said. “It will be fun to work towards a goal that doesn’t have a grade.”

According to Krause, participation of college students varies each year depending on how intensely clubs are competing for the high point club award. Club members accumulate points based on their participation and placing in the various events. Also, the number of students competing for the high point individual awards affects participation. The staff tries to keep the same number of animals available every year for the students to show.

There are also FFA events held during Little I for high school students. Krause said little I draws over 2,000 FFA members competing in the various events.