Kylie Hildre named Little International queen at North Dakota State University

Kylie Hildre has participated in Little I since she was a freshman, showing an array of animals offered through the event.

Kylie Hildre grew up on a ranch in Velva, North Dakota. Photo taken Feb. 6, 2023, in Fargo, North Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek

FARGO — North Dakota State University's Saddle and Sirloin club is putting on their 97th Little International show Feb. 10-11.

The Little International is a rich tradition that has been going on at the campus for nearly a century. It is the largest student run event on campus, with around 300 NDSU students lending a helping hand in ensuring the show goes off without a hitch.

While all roles are important for the show, there is one coveted role that many students set their eye on, Little International Queen.

This year’s Little International queen is Kylie Hildre. Hildre grew up on a ranch in Velva, North Dakota, where she kept busy in rodeo and helping out on the ranch. She has a deep passion for the agriculture industry, which is what made her join Saddle and Sirloin — the club that puts on Little I — in the first place.

“It runs in my blood. It’s definitely been a passion of mine since I was knee high to a grasshopper,” Hildre said. “I needed a club that felt like home, so I joined.”


Hildre has participated in Little I since she was a freshman, showing an array of animals offered through the event. Little I offers a chance for students to show off their animal husbandry skills. Students are able to participate in showmanship classes of beef, dairy, sheep and swine, as well as ham curing and public speaking contests. Something that Hildre is excited for this year is that for the first time, the show will have a goat class.

Hildre is a senior studying nursing which keeps her extremely busy, but has made sure to carve out time for her role as Little International queen — a position she has had her eye on since her freshman year.

“It was something that I knew I could really show a passion for as well as keeping the younger kids involved and really just helping everybody be the best that they can be,” she said. “This title has meant so much to me just taking that next step, doing something different besides the showing aspect.”

Agriculturalists of the year

Every year, The Little I honors one person for their hard work and dedication to the ag industry by naming them Agriculturalists of the year. This year, that honor is being multiplied and given to Dean and Paula Swenson . The pair were married shortly after their graduation from NDSU in 1973. They will be honored on the evening of Friday, Feb. 10, for their recent accolade.

A couple hold hands.
Dean and Paula Swenson were selected as NDSU Saddle and Sirloin club Agriculturalists of the Year for 2023.
Contributed by NDSU

One of the most eye-catching things about the show that’s held in Shepperd Arena , is the sea of streamers hung from the rafters for the show. This year, the colors are teal, tan and purple. The theme of this year’s Little International is “Leaving a Legacy.”

“Leaving a legacy. Leaving something better behind for the next generation,” Hildre said. “It means a lot to me. Being a senior this year I want to leave something behind that can be followed or be even better.”

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