North Dakota State University’s Saddle and Sirloin club is gearing up to host its 95th Little International, to be held on Feb. 12-13.
“I am just excited that we can make Little I happen this year. We did not know if it was going to be possible this year while planning it during the pandemic. We’re just really glad that we can make it happen and that we get to have an audience this year,” said Samantha Pernsteiner, 2021’s Little International queen.
NDSU’s Saddle and Sirloin Cub’s Little International is an annual event filled with pride and tradition, the first Little I taking place in 1922. The event focuses on animal husbandry, having NDSU students partake in a livestock showing competition. Participants can choose to show from an array of animals. However, the event also has some other facets.
“The Little International is mostly a livestock competition, but we also have many other things that go along with it. We have a speech competition, a ham curing competition, hippology and a silent auction during the show,” Pernsteiner said.
In order to participate in the Little International, one must become or already be a member of NDSU’s Saddle and Sirloin club.
“Saddle and Sirloin is the one behind putting the Little International and all the members of Saddle and Sirloin get to compete and get to put on this amazing production,” Pernsteiner said.
Pernsteiner is a member of the Saddle and Sirloin club and has participated in the Little International herself. Coming from an agricultural background, Pernsteiner participating in the event was a no-brainer. She also thought about running for and becoming the Little International queen as an underclassmen, a dream that became a reality.
“I always thought about it when I came to NDSU, and my neighbor pushed for me to be in Saddle and Sirloin because he had such an amazing experience in it when he was in college. I have always looked up to the queen and executive members of Saddle and Sirloin and I knew I wanted to fit into one of those roles," Persteiner said. "Here I am, the 95th Little International queen.”
Persteiner is a senior studying agricultural economics with a minor in animal sciences. She grew up on a cow-calf operation. Her family raises some crops as well in southern North Dakota.
“I’ve always been around agriculture, even since I was little," Pernsteiner said. "In the tractor, around the cows, so it’s no surprise that I’m still involved in agriculture today.”