BROOKINGS, S.D. — For the first time since 2019, South Dakota State University invites all members of the public to attend the 99th SDSU Little International at the Animal Science Arena on campus in Brookings April 1-2.
As the largest two-day, student-run agricultural exposition in the U.S., Little “I” has proven to be one of SDSU’s longest-standing traditions. The event, put on by 144 SDSU undergraduates, provides 4-H, FFA and college students with an opportunity to compete in judging contests, showmanship competitions and fitting challenges.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and after the SDSU campus closure forced the cancelation of the 97th Little “I” in March 2020 and a modified 98th annual event in 2021, this year will mark the first time in three years where all members of the public are allowed to attend the in-person event.
“I’m excited to see the Animal Science Arena filled with spectators once again for this outstanding event,” said 99th Little International Manager Grady Gullickson. “Our staff members are working hard to provide exhibitors and participants with an experience they will never forget. Don’t miss this exciting weekend full of competition and tradition!”
At this year’s event, over 170 collegiate students will compete in horse, sheep, lamb lead, goat, dairy, beef and swine events. Interested students attended a livestock drawing in February to receive the chance to show one of the available animals.
“The livestock drawing brought in roughly 200 SDSU students, which is the highest number we have seen in recent history,” said Gullickson.
Dairy, horse and beef exhibitors are given three weeks prior to the event to start working with their animals, while all other species have two weeks to prepare for the show.
The weekend will kick off with 4-H and FFA contests on Friday, April 1. Those contests will be followed by preliminary rounds of collegiate fitting, with fitting finals to commence following opening ceremonies at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday’s activities will kick off with showmanship preliminaries and novice finals, followed by showmanship finals and round robin that evening. SDSU alumni Carter Vander Wal and Lane Speirs will serve as the event’s masters of ceremonies.
In addition to livestock shows and contests, Little “I” will recognize the late Don Marshall as the 99th Honored Agriculturalist on the evening of April 2. An alumni social will also be held on April 2 from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Agricultural Heritage Museum on the SDSU campus.
For those interested in viewing the weekend’s activities online, livestream services provided by Walton Webcasting will be available via the SDSU Little International Facebook page. Links to livestreams will be posted immediately before each session at https://www.facebook.com/
For more information and the full event schedule, visit sdsulittleinternational.com.
— SDSU Extension