Twenty-two Sleepy Eye FFA members competed at the 90th Little International Judging Contest, which took place on Friday, March 22, at South Dakota State University. Participants celebrated the lasting legacy of one of the nation’s largest livestock contests. Hundreds of high school students, as well as some college students, competed in the event, held at SDSU’s Animal Science Arena. Little I is managed by SDSU students and is famous as the largest two-day, student-run agricultural exposition in the nation. The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter had numerous successful performances.
The Dairy Cattle Judging team evaluated dairy cows and heifers, placing classes and answering questions. They finished with an impressive 1st place out of 44 teams. Emily Kjelshus, Sabrina Portner and Mary Rosenhammer were members of this team. Sabrina Portner was the 2nd place overall individual and Emily Kjelshus was 10th.
In Milk Quality and Products Judging, contestants had to identify types of cheeses and milk flavors, and take a knowledge test. The Sleepy Eye team finished 5th out of 40 teams. The team members included: Wyatt Kosmatka, Erin Kotten, Marisa Martinez, Madlyn McMullen, Miranda McMullen and Stephanie Hammerschmidt. The top finisher on Sleepy Eye’s Team was Miranda McMullen, who was 14th out of 139 competitors.
The Floriculture team placed 7th out of 37 teams. Sleepy Eye’s top finisher was Kacie Goblirsch, who placed 10th out of 137 individuals. In the Floriculture CDE, there is a written test on the general knowledge of floriculture, plant identification, where contestants identify flower specimens, and flower/plant judging, where samples of flowers and plants are to be ranked based on quality and condition. Team members included: Jordyn Domeier, Kacie Goblirsch, Carly Jensen and Samantha Krebsbach.
The Nursery and Landscape CDE is composed of a multiple choice test, landscape practicum, identification of plants/trees, landscape tools, and possible diseases. The Nursery and Landscape team was 12th out of 19 teams. Kari Schumacher was the top finisher for Sleepy Eye, earning 22nd out of 60 participants. Other team members included: Cassidy Hacker, Kabrie Weber, and Kaylee Hillmer.
The Livestock Evaluation team judged beef, sheep and swine, looking at the ideal animals for breeding or market classes. The team consisted of Courtney Engholm, Luke Fischer, Cody Gilliland, Ashley Helget and Zoe Macklanburg. The team placed 40th out of 87 teams. Cody Gilliland was the high scorer on the Sleepy Eye Team placing 68th out of 345 individuals.
Through competing in the Little I Competition, students were able to utilize this event, not just as an opportunity to improve their judging skills, but also to develop time management skills, responsibility, hard work and personal pride.