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Little International Livestock Show

Novice participants competing in the beef finalist competition.
Novice participants competing in the beef finalist competition.

Block and Bridle, an agriculture-based student organization at Virginia Tech, hosts the annual livestock show known as Little International—and celebrated their 100th show in 2023.

Little International is open to current university students and welcomes both advanced and novice participants. The novice and advanced groups compete separately, allowing all students to compete against students of similar experience and skill.

Before competition day, all participants practice with and prepare their animals. This includes practicing their showing techniques and cleaning their animals. Most students typically invest 2-3 hours every week in the four weeks leading up to the event.

“Little International is a great practice in work ethic and commitment. Dealing with animals is not easy, and the students put in a lot of work with their animals on top of their regular class schedules,” said Bailey Watson, the 2022 show chair.

Little International provides new students the opportunity to develop their animal handling skills and earn an appreciation for showmanship. Perhaps more importantly, it gives students who participated in livestock shows while growing up the chance to continue their passion.

“One of my favorite things about Little International is that it allows 4-H and FFA kids who have aged out of showing the opportunity to show again; because honestly, there’s no feeling like going back into that show ring,” said Watson.

She went on to add, “I’ve talked to alumni and the stories they share highlight the tradition associated with this competition and the importance of introducing new students to the art of showing,” highlighting the importance of this long-lived show.

After participating in Little International as both a competitor and as show chair, Bailey has plenty of these memories and stories to share as well.

“Some of my favorite memories as a participant are coming in with no experience and getting help from friends. With their help, I learned how to train and show my heifer; and even won the novice beef competition. (Later) as the show chair, even though there was a lot of stress, it made me so happy to be able to give other students this same opportunity.”

Viewing of the competition is typically open to the public and is highly recommended for those with an interest in livestock shows, prospective students, and their families.


Article by: Noah Willis, Student Communications Assistant, APSC/DASC