Little American Royal provides education outside the classroom

Participants making the final three rounds in the 88th annual Little American Royal in Weber Hall on April, 16, 2016. (Lyndsey Saunders | The Collegian)

During the All-University Open House, the Block and Bridle and Dairy Science clubs hosted the Little American Royal. The event allowed students from all backgrounds and majors to participate as showmen in species such as sheep, goats, swine, horses, and dairy and beef cattle, according to the K-State Animal Sciences and Industry website.

The 88th annual Little American Royal hosted showmen from across campus. Abbey Horn, junior in agricultural economics, said students help one another prepare their animals and learn how to show. Horn said she has served as the sheep co-chair for two years.

The event provides members of the Block and Bridle and Dairy Science clubs the opportunity to host the show and take on different roles, from chairing a species to serving on the executive council and more, according to the Little American Royal program book.

“These are the people we are going to be in the industry with, so being competitive here and being able to work out our differences in the show ring probably means we can work out our differences in the business room or feed lot, wherever we end up,” Horn said.

The event consisted of two categories for every species: experienced showmen and novice showmen. The novice division has participants that range in experience from just learning how to show an animal in the past month to showing once or twice. Participants in the experienced division often have years of showing under their belt.

Jill Seiler, junior in agricultural communications and journalism, said she grew up on a dairy farm and participated in 4-H for 12 years. Seiler said she began showing through 4-H and the National Junior Holstein Association.

“My first show that I ever went to was a Kansas spring dairy show, and I was 5 or 6 years old,” Seiler said. “My older brothers and sister went, and I took a calf that was 3 months old. I stood on the bottom of the class, but what I learned, something that I could be good at was, I couldn’t change the cow but I could change how I show my cow. From then on, I always worked really hard at my showmanship skills.”

Seiler said she went on in the show to win Reserve Champion Dairy Showman.

Like Seiler, many experienced showmen choose to show species they are most familiar with. Some, however, step outside their comfort zone to try a new species and sign up as a novice.

Milea Anderson, freshman in animal sciences and industry, said she grew up on a farm showing swine and beef cattle but at Little American Royal chose to show dairy.

“I chose to do dairy because I was thinking between dairy and sheep I want to do something I have never done before, and I figured dairy was probably a little closer to my comfort zone with still expanding my horizons,” Anderson said.

Anderson finished her first Little American Royal with a win in the novice division of dairy. Winners of each species received different prizes, including buckets, halters, bags and other items. Each participant also received a ribbon for being a part of the show.

The Little American Royal is designed as a play off of the American Royal, a livestock show held in Kansas City. Since 1899, the American Royal has hosted livestock competitions and slowly began to integrate rodeos and a barbecue contest every fall, according to its website. The American Royal celebrates this region’s agricultural history through competition, education and entertainment, according to its website.

Horn said that although Little American Royal is entertaining, it also provides students with new opportunities.

“I think LAR is beneficial in the fact that it shows people, our donors and sponsors, and the university that students are learning past the classroom,” Horn said. “The dollars they spend giving back to the university as alumni are actually getting students’ hands on animals and getting real-life experience. The entertainment factor is fun for the rest of us, but it definitely gets kids in the barn and gets them involved.”