Dakota Farmer

Slideshow: North Dakota State University’s Saddle and Sirloin club hosts 98th annual show.

Sarah McNaughton, Editor, Dakota Farmer

February 28, 2024

7 Slides

Students, alumni and faculty alike flock to North Dakota State University’s Shepperd Arena each February for the annual Saddle and Sirloin Little International. The show has been presented since 1922 and is patterned after the International Livestock show once held in Chicago.

In 2024, the Saddle and Sirloin club hosted its 98th show on campus. Kasi Holm of Ashley, N.D., a senior majoring in human development and family sciences, was elected as the 98th Little “I” queen.

“There are 150 people showing animals, six who are competing in the public speaking contest, and 31 ham curing contestants,” Holm says. “We have over 300 members in Saddle and Sirloin, and we start planning for the next show as soon as one ends.”

Producing Little I is an all-hands-on-deck job, with almost every club member serving a role to make it a success. Various committees help cover each detail of the show, and Holm says the work put into the event is unmatched by any other organization on campus.

Club members are able to sign up to show one of five animal species in the event: swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, goats and sheep. Goats for the show are provided by Brett Levos of Chaffee, N.D., with all other species coming from the NDSU animal units.

Holm says the show couldn’t go on without the work from the NDSU animal unit managers. “They’re the ones who allow us to use their animals — the sheep, the pigs, and the beef and the dairy cattle,” she says. “This process would not be possible without them.”

Honoring agriculturalists

Holm says an important part of each show is nominating and selecting someone who’s made a difference in North Dakota agriculture, with Larry Schnell being honored in 2024.

“Club members nominate someone in the industry, and then the club votes as a whole on who we should honor,” she states. “This year we had four nominations, and the person who nominates them does a video interview with them over a few questions, and then we all discuss to narrow it down. These individuals have played such an important role in our club members’ lives and agriculture as a whole.”

Larry Schnell of Dickinson, N.D., was nominated by Little I manager Kell Hellmuth for his extensive work supporting producers in North Dakota and beyond. Schnell has served on various boards and committees, striving to ensure that the producer side of any subject was considered. He was a partner and general manager of Stockmen’s Exchange in Dickinson for nearly 45 years, before him and his partner James Erickson sold the business to three employees in 2022.

Serving on many boards and committees, Schnell worked on livestock transactions, animal care and handling, animal identification, humane horse slaughter, and livestock transportation regulations. He was instrumental in many areas from creating animal-handling videos to educating auction market employees on responsible animal handling, alongside National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Livestock Marketing Association.

Schnell was honored during a banquet before the show, as well as during the event in Shepperd Arena. Holm says that it is an honor to highlight the extensive work done by Schnell as agriculturist of the year.

Miss out on the show? Check out the slideshow.

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About the Author(s)

Sarah McNaughton

Editor, Dakota Farmer, Farm Progress

Sarah McNaughton of Bismarck, N.D., has been editor of Dakota Farmer since 2021. Before working at Farm Progress, she was an NDSU 4-H Extension agent in Cass County, N.D. Prior to that, she was a farm and ranch reporter at KFGO Radio in Fargo.

McNaughton is a graduate of North Dakota State University, with a bachelor’s degree in ag communications and a master’s in Extension education and youth development.

She is involved in agriculture in both her professional and personal life, as a member of North Dakota Agri-Women, Agriculture Communicators Network Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority Alumni and Professional Women in Agri-business. As a life-long 4-H’er, she is a regular volunteer for North Dakota 4-H programs and events.

In her free time, she is an avid backpacker and hiker, and can be found most summer weekends at rodeos around the Midwest.

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