Skip to main content

SDSU Little International to Host Centennial Celebration March 31 and April 1

The celebration is expected to bring hundreds of alumni, students and supporters to the Brookings campus

100th Little I logo

South Dakota State University invites all members of the public to attend the 100th SDSU Little International at the Animal Science Arena on the SDSU campus in Brookings March 31 and April 1. 

The annual SDSU event is famous for its reputation as the nation’s largest two-day, student-run agricultural exposition in the country. Recognized as one of SDSU’s longest-standing traditions, Little “I” provides 4-H and FFA members and college students with the opportunity to participate in agricultural career-building events including judging, showmanship and fitting contests. 

This year’s theme is “Built on Tradition, Powered by a Vision.” Cody Gifford, a senior agricultural science student from Lake Benton, Minnesota, serves as the 100th Little International Manager. He says he, and the 164 student volunteers who make up the Little “I” staff, couldn’t think of a better expression that encompasses the significance of this year’s event. 

“The centennial celebration is providing an opportunity for both current students and SDSU alumni to see how far we have come from the very first Little “I” and how many students the organization has impacted over the years,” said Gifford. “There is so much history surrounding the event here at SDSU.”

At this year’s Little “I,” spectators and participants alike can expect some new attractions, such as the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum’s collection of photographs and memorabilia commemorating past Little “I” experiences, as well as continued activities. On the morning of March 31, nearly 2,000 4-H and FFA members from schools throughout South Dakota and surrounding states will participate in judging contests on campus. Following the conclusion of judging contests, preliminary rounds of collegiate livestock fitting competitions will take place, with fitting finals to begin after Little “I” opening ceremonies at 5:00 p.m. that evening.

Saturday’s schedule of events will proceed with preliminary rounds of collegiate livestock showmanship and novice finals. An Alumni Social will be held for all past Little I staff, participants and supporters from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum. Later that day, showmanship finals and a round robin event will take place to select the overall champion livestock showman. In addition to livestock shows and contests, Little “I” will recognize Rod Geppert as the 100th Honored Agriculturalist on the evening of April 1. For those unable to attend in person, Walton Webcasting will be livestreaming the weekend’s activities online via the SDSU Little International Facebook page.

“It is always a great feeling to fill the building with alumni, families and spectators to see the hard work pay off for students who partake in the Little “I” tradition,” said Gifford. 

About SDSU Little International 

South Dakota State University’s Little International began on campus in 1921 and was modeled after the International Livestock Show that took place during the 20th Century in Chicago. Since its inception, SDSU’s Little “I” has established a rich tradition of legacy and learning. The event allows students to gain skills in showmanship, animal husbandry and agriculture-based career paths. In addition to showing livestock, students may participate in wool judging, meats judging, dairy product creation, machinery sales and more. For a full list of events, visit