100th annual Little International Livestock Expo slated for April 8

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For 100 years, students at Penn State have gained experience in handling large animals through showing at the College of Agricultural Sciences' Little International Livestock Exposition, better known as the "Little I." This year's 100th anniversary event, hosted by Penn State's Block and Bridle Club, will begin at 8 a.m. April 8 at the Snider Agricultural Arena at Penn State's University Park campus.

The Little I, held in conjunction with the Penn State Dairy Exposition, is a livestock show that allows students to work with their species of interest — beef heifers, horses, swine or breeding ewes. That's what makes the event so special, participants say.

Kasie Kerr, a senior from Bangor, Pennsylvania, is serving as this year's show manager, assisted by Chandlar Kern and Sharon Snyder. Participating in the Little I and managing the show has been a dream of Kerr's since she observed her older brother serving as manager when he was at Penn State.

"I knew then that I wanted to do it," she said. "The show is a great way for students who are not from farms to get hands-on experience in handling animals."

Kerr credits those who are experienced in showing livestock with helping the students who are handling animals for the first time. "They are a great asset," she said.

Throughout the day, there will be a variety of special recognitions of alumni from the College of Agricultural Sciences, including the Distinguished Animal Science Alumni, the 2016 Penn State Judging Team and other judging teams that are present; previous participants who won champion and reserve champion awards; previous show managers; and former Block and Bridle presidents.

Bill Rishel, Penn State class of 1967, of North Platte, Nebraska, will be the beef judge for the show. He not only showed animals as an undergraduate, he was also show manager and was a member of the 1966 national champion livestock judging team.

"Serving as manager was a tremendous learning opportunity and offered a blueprint for a lot of things you do in business and in life; helping you learn to plan, make decisions, organize and follow through," Rishel said.

"The show is a learning experience, where you are surrounded by good people who all pitch in and help," he said. "It is a great experience for many students who have never had the chance to show animals."

Dick Kuzemchak, class of 1968, of Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania, will judge sheep. He retired as a shepherd from Penn State and continues to work with sheep breeders. He has competed in the Little I and also worked with students when he was a shepherd.

"I am really looking forward to the show — I always enjoyed working with students," he said. "It offers a unique experience and allows students to get advice and direction from some of the leading people in the livestock industry, while working with some of the finest livestock in the country. I have very fond memories of showing."

Other judges will be Roger Allgeier (horses), class of 1965, and Joe Strittmatter (swine), class of 1973.

A silent auction held throughout the show will feature many unique items, including a custom saddle made for the Penn State Block and Bridle Club by alumnus Roger Allgeier, of Brighton Feeds and Saddlery, Brighton, Colorado. The highest bidder will have his or her name engraved on a plate to be attached to the saddle, which will remain in the Traditions Room in Henning Building on the Penn State campus. Proceeds from the auction will go towards Block and Bridle's endowment fund, ensuring the club's sustainability.

Sara Gutshall Berger, show manager of the 94th Little I, is making a T-shirt quilt which will be part of the auction.

Kerr encourages previous participants in the Little I to return and join in the festivities to make this a special anniversary.

For questions about the show, contact show manager Kerr at 570-460-5874 or by email at kmk5860@psu.edu.

The Little I banquet will be held following the show at the Mountain View Country Club, in Boalsburg, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The Penn State Dairy Expo

Held in conjunction with the Little I, the Penn State Dairy Exposition is open to all students interested in gaining hands-on experience with dairy cattle and learning the basics of preparing and handling animals for a show.

The Dairy Expo is hosted by the Dairy Science Club. Participants in the competition in recent weeks have been practicing with and preparing their animals for the event. No experience is necessary and the expo offers a classification specifically for beginners and first-timers. There are also classes for intermediates and professionals.

Last Updated March 31, 2017