colby hennessy and his cow

Little International Celebrates 90 Years

Elli Lemm and her cured ham
Elli Lemm proudly displays her cured ham.

A landmark birthday will be held on campus next week.

“The Little International Livestock Show is the largest student-run event on the NDSU campus, involving over 300 students,” says Saddle & Sirloin secretary Elli Lemm.

The event, known as Little “I,” is a two-day event taking place Feb. 12 and 13. This family-friendly occasion with a variety of events is open to the public.

At 5 p.m. in Avalon West Events Center, there will be a Hall of Fame Social followed by the banquet. The festivities will continue the following day starting at 8 a.m. in Sheppered Arena. It will be a day full of showmanship events and a night of dancing. The Showmanship shows consist of four species — beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine and sheep.

There are about 10 contestants for each species.

“Showmanship in general is how the person ‘showman’ is able to show the animal,” says Lemm. Each participant signed up animals back in November.

colby hennessy and his cow
Beef showman Colby Hennessy shows off his Angus heifer at last year’s Little International.

When they returned from winter break, the beef and dairy showmen were able to start working on their animals. It was not until January that the sheep and swine showmen got their animals. After they wash and brush the animals, contestants are judged based on how well their animal behaves while they walk them around Shepperd Arena.

Each year the Little “I” will honor an Agriculturist of the Year. This year the award will be going to Ron Zimprich, who has been involved with the NDSU agriculture program for nearly 45 years and has been the NDSU swine barn manager for equally as long. “It is truly an honor to be selected by the Saddle and Sirloin Club for the years of dedication and commitment to the Swine program at  NDSU and the Pork Industry of North Dakota. It is humbling to be included in the Hall of Fame Gallery at Sheppard Arena with past leaders in Agriculture” says Zimprich.

This year’s theme is “Decades of Dedication.” The Saddle & Sirloin Club members have put in hours of their time and sweat into making this year’s Little “I” the best one yet.

Not only will the showmanship events include classes of beef, dairy, sheep and swine as well as ham curing and public speaking, there will be a Ham Curing Auction, a 50/50 raffle and a Silent Auction.

“Total, there are about 300 members involved, about 150 showmen, 60 ham curing contestants (and) 20 public speaking contestants,” says Lemm.

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