The Principles of Animal Science and senior level Agriculture Education classes joined up and held the Little International Showmanship and Leadership Competition on Oct. 8 and 9. Over 200 students, faculty and volunteers gathered at the Nance Ranch to make the learning experience a success.
According to Dr. David Lust, Instructor of Animal Science, the competition is designed to get students engaged in their first semester at WTAMU.
“We want them to get excited, get involved and meet new people – not only their classmates, but their upper classmen as well,” said Lust. “We also want them to learn factual information about livestock, their breeds, characteristics and weights. We hope to teach them leadership traits and qualities.”
The Little International competition has been held at WT for about 62 years. This year, 213 contestants entered hoping to win cash prizes, WT cutouts, bags and goodies.
“It’s good to get the freshman engaged in class and experience a group project that is unique to this university,” Royce Kratz, senior Agriculture Education major, said. “They get to have someone to look up to who has been here for four years and not just in the show pen, but also in class and around campus.”
Students in the Principles of Animal Science class were given the choice of showing horses, cattle, sheep or pigs. After choosing which animal they wanted to show, the students were given two to three weeks to work with their animals.
“I showed pigs all through high school, but had always wanted to show a steer, so it was really great to get an opportunity like this,” Mechelle Underwood, freshman Agriculture Business and Economics major, said.
Little International was not just about showing livestock, but it also served as a learning opportunity with the Quiz Bowl contest.
“I didn’t realize how competitive the quiz bowl contest would be, but I was very happy to have won it with the help of my team,” Madison Bagwell, junior Agriculture Business and Economics major, said. “I definitely learned a lot from this experience.”
Little International is put together by two classes at WT, who partnered up to make the whole event happen. The Principle of Animal Science class and the senior level Agriculture Education class joined forces to make groups with upperclassmen as leaders and the underclassmen as the contestants. The upperclassmen serve as the freshmen’s mentors and guides through the experience.
According to Lust, the upperclassmen gain teaching experience, mentor freshmen and it helps to create a learning community so the freshmen get involved early in their first semester and go on to be successful at WT.
“It was a great way to bond with my classmates and the upperclassmen, like our group leaders,” Kimber Kiker, freshman Agriculture Media and Communications major, said.