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100th Anniversary of Penn State's "Little "I" to be celebrated on April 8

Posted: March 9, 2017

This year's "Little I" will feature special recognition of champion and reserve showmen, show managers, judging teams and others who have contributed to its success.

For 100 years, students at Penn State have been gaining experience in handling large animals through showing at Penn State's Little International Livestock Exposition, the "Little I." This year's 100th-anniversary event, hosted by Penn State's Block and Bridle Club, will be held on April 8 at the Penn State Snider Ag Arena, beginning at 8 a.m.

"Little I" is a livestock show that allows students to work with their species of interest - beef heifers, horses, swine or breeding ewes. 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 champion and reserve champion showmen, previous show managers, and Block and Bridle presidents.

Kasie Kerr, a senior from Bangor, PA, is serving as this year's show manager. She said, "I feel blessed with the opportunity to work with the show, and I have two wonderful assistants, Chandlar Kern and Sharon Snyder. The three of us work closely together to handle all the details of the show." 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 experiences in handling animals." She credits those who are experienced showmen with helping the students who are handling animals for the first time. "They are a great asset."

Bill Rishel, '67, North Platte, NE, 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. He said, "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. The show is a learning experience, where you are surrounded by good people who all pitch in and help. It is a great experience for many students who have never had the chance to show animals."

Dick Kuzemchak, '68, Pleasant Gap, PA, will be judging 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. He said, "I am really looking forward to the show. I always enjoyed working with students. 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, '65, horse and Joe Strittmatter, '73, swine.

A Silent Auction will be held throughout the show, featuring many unique items. A custom saddle has been made for the Penn State Block & Bridle Club by alumnus Roger Allgeier of Brighton Feeds & Saddlery, Brighton, CO. The highest bidder will have their name engraved on a plate to be attached to the saddle which will remain in the Traditions Room in Henning Building. The proceeds will go towards Block & 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.  

Any questions about the show, please contact: Show Manager Kasie Kerr (570) 460-5874 kmk5860@psu.edu; Assistant Show Managers Chandlar Kern (814) 506-4237 chk5071@psu.edu  and Sharon Snyder (570) 677-3640 srs5634@psu.edu.

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

The Little I is held each year in conjunction with the Penn State Dairy Exposition.