This weekend CSU students have an excuse to go hog wild.
The 71st annual Little National Western will be held on Nov. 5
and 6 at CSU’s Equine Center on the Foothills Campus and the
Agricultural Research Development and Education Center, 4616
Northeast Frontage Road. These events are open to the public free
of admission and will feature 140 CSU students demonstrating their
showmanship with different animals.
The show is modeled after Denver’s National Western Stock Show
and presents horses, cattle, swine, sheep and dairy animals. It
allows students involved to get a better understanding of animal
anatomy and the agricultural industry.
“The Little National Western gives the opportunity for beginner
showmen to gain valuable experience working with animals,” said
Dallas Schleining, the committee chair for the show, and a senior
animal science and business major.
The horse show will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Equine
Center. The events involving cattle, swine, sheep and diary animals
will be Nov. 6 at ARDEC. This day-long event, beginning at 8 a.m.,
will open with the swine show and close with a championship round
for each species beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Three weeks before the event, each competitor is given an animal
to work with and train, said Abby Ambrose, a sophomore animal
science major and Little National Western awards chairperson. To
prepare for the competition, the student trains the animal for at
least 20 hours. Trainers “break” the animals with a halter, so that
when the student tugs on a rope, the animal will walk beside him or
her. A few graduate students have volunteered to share their
expertise and help the new trainers learn the ropes.
“The student also grooms the animal by washing, shaving,
clipping and combing to make the animal look its best,” Ambrose
Grooming the animals also involves use of a large hair dryer to
make the animal appear fuller and squarer, according to Sara
Jackson, a freshman animal science major.
“It actually resembles a leaf blower more so than a hair dryer,”
Jackson said her 8-month-old, 500-pound Angus calf, Lola, has
been easy to work with.
“Lola’s pretty sweet natured,” she said. “Some (calves) have
been real kickers and the trainers have to jump and dance around
Jackson explained that the initial feelings of discomfort and
fear felt by both the trainers and the animals will eventually
dissolve through continued work and experience.
“Being groomed and trained doesn’t feel natural for the animals
and initially they’ll resist it. But they’ll be a lot more willing
to accept it the second time,” Jackson said.
The show will feature both experienced and novice participants,
but novices make up about two-thirds of all competitors.
“For most of these kids, this is their first, real hands-on
experience with an animal,” Ambrose said.
The novice divisions will have three heats for each species. The
judges, consisting of the alumni members of the Department of
Animal Sciences, will judge based on showmanship and will select
two winners from each species to compete in the final
Winners will receive belt buckles and participation awards will
be handed out, Schleining said. In the faculty division, 10 faculty
members will compete for a silver bucket trophy.
Involvement in the show has increased greatly. Last year there
were only 29 participants. This year, for students in AN101, a
food/animal science course, participation in is a requirement.
“This event is huge for these kids,” Ambrose said. “This gives
them a huge insight into what their major really is.”
The show helps bring the animal science community together
because the students can meet their fellow classmates and make
friends, Ambrose said.
The event will also raffle off over $2,000 in prizes such as
belt buckles, blankets, vests and gift certificates. Donations have
been supplied by restaurants and animal corporations across
“They’ve really stepped up to make this our best year yet,”
Schleining said he hopes this event will bring about more
interest in animals and livestock.
“I think there are a lot of individuals on campus who don’t know
much about livestock,” said Schleining. “I believe this event could
allow them the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience about
the livestock industry.”